KM3NeT - Blog

KM3NeT blog posts

New sea campaigns at both KM3NeT sites

12 September 2022 – New sea campaigns were performed last week for both ARCA and ORCA. The purpose was to prepare the field for next installation phases of the detectors as well as to deploy new detection units and acoustic beacons – the latter are autonomous calibration devices which run on batteries and need to be replaced after some time.

The number of detection units in operation in the deep sea has been increased to 32 (comprising almost 18,000 photomultipliers): 21 in ARCA and 11 in ORCA.

After installation of a third junction box at the ARCA site, this site is now fully equipped for hosting the so-called Phase-1 of the project, comprising the first 31 detection units and the calibration unit of the apparatus.

The ARCA sea campaign represented the final action of the IDMAR project in Italy, supported by Regione Sicilia.

These operations were made possible by the dedication of hardware teams and the onshore and offshore teams at the two sites – the Collaboration is very grateful to them.

The newly added junction box of ARCA on the sea bottom.
Detection unit deployment at the ORCA site.

KM3NeT at ICHEP 2022

For the first time, the International Conference on High Energy Physics was organized in Italy. This major conference in our field was the opportunity for KM3NeT and ANTARES members to present the latest updates from our experiments.

Some of our collaborators were also involved in the organization of the conference being held in Bologna.

The various talks and posters are available on the website of the conference:

Group picture of some of the KM3NeT members attending ICHEP (showing how seriously they considered this great opportunity!)

Rebecca Gozzini summarizing the potential of ANTARES and KM3NeT for indirect dark matter searches.

Valentin Pestel describing the KM3NeT sensor technology that allows the collaboration to carry out oscillation neutrino studies.

An overview of the recent results of ARCA presented by Piotr Kalczyński.

Victor Carretero presenting his work on the search for new physics in the neutrino sector.

Maurizio Spurio getting ready to present the latest highlights from ANTARES.


Isabel Goos before presenting the potential of KM3NeT for supernova neutrino searches.

Gwenhael W De Wasseige talking about KM3NeT during her plenary talk on multi-messenger physics.


Sea campaign for ARCA concluded: welcome, KM3NeT/ARCA19!

14 June 2022 – The sea campaign for enlarging the KM3NeT/ARCA submarine telescope has been completed with full success!

During the last few days, all detection units loaded on Handin Tide for the second phase of the operation were carefully installed on the sea bottom. This was achieved at a record-breaking speed, with 7 detection units installed, connected and unfurled in less than 48 hours!

As a result of the campaign, the size of ARCA has more than doubled. It now comprises 19 detection units in operation, equipped with more than 10,000 photomultipliers,

We thank the teams which worked tirelessly offshore and onshore to reach this remarkable success. And we can’t forget that this was made possible by the hard work ongoing in the almost 30 integration sites of the Collaboration.

The activities at sea went around the clock during the campaign.

The shore station during the campaign – more than 30 people were involved in the onshore team for this campaign.

Activities at sea being resumed at the ARCA site

11 June 2022 – Due to the adverse weather conditions of the last days, the schedule of the sea campaign had to be redefined.

Here is the updated plan:

  • the ship left Malta this afternoon, to be back at the ARCA site tonight
  • the deep sea activities will be started already during the night
  • DU deployments will be started tomorrow
  • end of the operation is foreseen for early next week

Good luck to our offshore and onshore teams!

Empty LOMs (the launcher vehicles used for deployment and unfurling of the detection units) on the dock in the Malta port after the first phase of the sea campaign.
The deck of the Handin Tide loaded with detection units and their cable trays for the second phase of the campaign.
The Handin Tide leaving the port of Malta this afternoon.


Intermediate outcome of the ARCA campaign: 2 junction boxes and 12 detection units operational

6 June 2022 – The first round of activities of the ongoing sea campaign at ARCA has been completed.

In a summary, in the past week-end:

  • we installed two submarine junction boxes, one of which in replacement of the temporary junction box that we have used so far
  • the temporary junction box has been safely recovered
  • we moved all connections of the detection units already installed on the sea bed onto the new junction boxes
  • we installed 4 new detection units (where, by installation, one should understand that each detection unit was lowered to the bottom of the sea, carefully placed on the sea bottom, connected to the junction box and unfurled to reach its nominal, upright configuration)

Each of the steps above comprised dedicated tests, requiring careful coordination of the activities of the onshore and offshore teams.

And… the campaign is not yet finished! The ship is now heading back to Malta to load an additional set of detection units to install.

Stay tuned, as there will be more to report in the next days!

Preparation to deployment of the first detection unit to be installed during the campaign. On the right of it is one of the junction boxes awaiting installation, on the left the temporary junction box recovered from the sea floor.

 

The first detection unit installed in this campaign gracefully splashes into the water, to start its journey down to 3,500 m depth.

 


New sea operation started at ARCA

3 June 2022 – A new sea operation was started yesterday aiming at a significant enlargement of the ARCA neutrino telescope.

This is a major step forward for the Collaboration, as this is the first time ever that we launch a 2-weeks campaign. The scope of the operation in fact is twofold: upgrade the submarine network, by installing 2 brand-new junction boxes in replacement of the junction box that we have been operating so far, and to install new detection units (DUs). The operation will therefore take place in two steps: after the first round of activities for installation of the junction boxes and the first 4 DUs, the ship will come back to shore to pick up an additional set of DUs.

Handin Tide, which has already performed the previous sea campaign for KM3NeT ARCA last year, is the ship which will conduct this operation.

The ship left the port of Malta yesterday afternoon.

Remain connected, as we will be posting news about the operation while the action goes on – on our blog and on our social channels.

A set of KM3NeT DUs ready for deployment in the port of Malta earlier this week.

 

Loading of a KM3NeT DU onto the Handin Tide.

The Handin Tide sailing off from Malta in the afternoon of yesterday, June 2.

A vibrant Collaboration meeting in Athens

27 May 2022 – Last week the KM3NeT Collaboration joined in Athens for an in-person Collaboration meeting. It was a long-awaited achievement, after two years of remote meetings.  Many thanks to our hosts at NCSR Demokritos for an excellent organisation!

The pleasure to be together again gave new impulse to all activities, and vibrant discussions took place about progress in construction of ARCA and ORCA, preparation of deployments campaigns and the latest methods and results of data analysis.

Besides the fact that we were extremely happy to meet in person again, we have also learned from the pandemic and our ZOOM-experience: With an eye on sustainability, family situations or other obligations, we also offered the possibility to join the meeting remotely. Which worked great!

Of course we also discussed about the war in Ukraine: With deep sadness for the horror which has been developing there for months now, the Collaboration decided to formally suspend all relationships with public institutions in Russia, including those institutes which had a status of observer institutes in the Collaboration. This won’t impact, though, on the solidarity and friendship with our colleagues in Russia, many of whom have openly stood up against the war, who will be therefore still welcome to participate in KM3NeT on a private basis.

During the meeting, the University of Georgia, which participates in KM3NeT with a team led by Kakhaber Tavzarashvili, changed its membership status from observer to member institute, and several colleagues from various institutes made their debut.

Finally, the meeting gave a good opportunity to refine the plans for the newly approved projects of KM3NeT Infradev-2, supported by EU, and the French project NEUMED.

What a feeling to take a nice Collaboration picture again!


Welcome, ORCA-10!

22 November 2021 – Four new detection units have been added to ORCA with a 5-day intense and successful sea operation.

The operation has been performed with two ships: the Castor, equipped for deployment and precise installation of the detection units on the sea floor, and Janus, equipped with a remotely operated vehicle used for inspecting and for connecting the new units to the submarine infrastructure.

You can read all details of the operation in the daily reports published in our ORCA-blog.

Data taking with 10 detection units has been started!

One of the new detection units of ORCA outboard of Castor, preparing to its journey to the seafloor, 2,500 m below.


Sea campaign completed: 10 detection units in operation at ORCA

22 November 2021 – Excellent progress today, with the work finalized on the two detection units lately deployed: after a confirmation from the tests that both were ok, the unfurling was started of the two units. The launcher vehicles were safely recovered from the Castor; the ROV inspected both units after unfurling, confirming that both are in nominal configuration. A new functionality test was then performed from the shore station to ensure that both detection units work nominally.

As the sea condition rapidly degraded during the day, it was decided to quit the campaign. The remaining detection units on deck will be saved for next time.

The final outcome of the campaign is: ORCA enlarged from 6 to 10 detection units!

The KM3NeT Collaboration is grateful to the heroic teams who have made such great effort onboard the two ships and in the shore station, as well as to all institutes which contributed to the construction of the detection units. We look forward to the next deployment campaign. Having said that: it’s time to resume data taking with an enlarged ORCA-10 now!

Approaching the ORCA submarine junction box at 2,500 m depth – in the foreground is the connector that the ROV is preparing to plug on it.
The team onboard the Janus – on one of the screens is the sonar image of the ORCA telescope, showing the nodes and the detection units on the sea floor. Note that the operation was performed respecting all applicable rules for protection against COVID-19 – the team got so close together only for the purpose of the picture.
The team onboard the Castor showing the ’10’ sign in front of a recovered launcher vehicle.
The onshore team. The featured instrument is an Optical Spectrum Analyser, showing the signals of the 10 detection units of ORCA. Note that the operation was performed respecting all applicable rules for protection against COVID-19 – the team got so close together only for the purpose of the picture.

News from the ORCA campaign – hard work ongoing, bad weather approaching

21 November 2021 – The weather forecast does not look promising for next days. The main effort today was spent on some tuning of the equipment and preparation to next steps.

The situation at the sea bottom is: two new detection units have been already added to the ORCA detector; a third one, after installation, connection and test, is awaiting unfurling, and a fourth one is also on the sea floor awaiting to be connected – next step will be to connnect this one.

The video shows the overboarding of the ROV from the Janus – this takes place by means of a so-called A-frame (the structure at the stern of the ship which, rotating, reaches outboard).