KM3NeT - Recent News

Latest news items published on the home page.

The KM3NeT Collaboration met online

14 March 2023 – The KM3NeT Collaboration met online last week for the spring Collaboration meeting.

During the meeting we reviewed the status of data taking and data analysis of ARCA and ORCA, and discussed the progress in detector construction and the plans for next sea campaigns.

The Collaboration continues to grow: a research team has joined as full member of the Collaboration from University of Hull in UK (team leader: Brad Gibson) and a team from Ariel University in Israel (team leader: Dafne Guetta) has been welcomed as observer; furthermore, Marco Miceli of University of Palermo, Italy, has been accepted as associated member.

During the meeting the first-ever winners of the Giorgos Androulakis Prize, Tamás Gál and Edward Berbee, were announced.

The plan for next Collaboration meetings was also finalized. A decision of the KM3NeT Collaboration, meant to reduce the carboon footprint on the planet, is that at least one of the general Colllaboration meetings is organized online per year. The next Collaboration meetings will take place in person, in early June in Salerno and in mid-October in Paris.

Tamás Gál and Edward Berbee awarded the Giorgos Androulakis Prize

9 March 2023 – During the Spring KM3NeT collaboration meeting, the first-ever winners of the Giorgos Androulakis Prize were announced.

With the prize, KM3NeT recognises “exceptional contribution to the KM3NeT project that has a particularly high impact on the success or progress of KM3NeT”.

The prize is named after Giorgos Androulakis, the late KM3NeT Quality Manager, in order to commemorate Giorgos’ dedication to the project. The prize is awarded in two categories: Early-Career Scientists and Technicians & Engineers.

The winners of the KM3NeT Giorgos Androulakis Prize are:

  • in the category Early Career Scientists: Tamás Gál of ECAP, “for his prominent role and numerous contributions in the development and maintenance of essential software tools for the Collaboration, like the KM3NeT GitLab server, wiki, elog and online monitoring system,  allowing the transformation of the KM3NeT software infrastructure into a modern software system; and for his continued dedication to provide documentation and support whenever  needed in the most helpful way”
  • in the category Technicians and Engineers: Edward Berbee of Nikhef, “for his incredible set of contributions to all mechanical aspects of KM3NeT, including design, construction and testing of DOMs, DUs, LOMs, his never ending work and tireless dedication to the experiment”

Congratulations to Tamás and Edward! With many thanks for your dedication to KM3NeT.


The winners of the Giorgos Androulakis Prize: Tamás Gál (left) and Edward Berbee (right).

ORCA enlarged with 4 new detection units

12 December 2022 – During a sea campaign performed last week, ORCA has been enlarged by means of 4 new detection units. This brings the total of detection units deployed in ORCA to 15, comprising more than 7,500 photomultipliers.

The operation was performed with the Castor ship of Foselev, for deployment of the detection units, and with the Janus II of SAAS (formerly Comex), equipped with a deep-sea remotely operated vehicle, for submarine operations.

The KM3NeT Collaboration congratulates the crews on the two ships, the team who performed careful checks from the shore station during the campaign, and all the teams who contributed to the construction of the detection units, for the success of the operation.

One of the ORCA detection units starting its journey from the Castor to the sea floor, 2500 m below. In the background is the Janus II.


Sonar map of ORCA, showing 14 detection units (the 15th one is beyond the boundary of the map). The 4 in the bottom part of the picture are the new ones installed.

Major upgrade of ARCA’s seafloor network

22 November 2022 – After 4 years of  activities carried out by the Italian funding agency INFN and Alcatel Submarine Networks, part of Nokia, the new subsea network for KM3NeT ARCA, funded under the Idmar regional project in Italy, is now complete.

The new system comprises a 100 km long electro-optical cable, equipped with 48 optical fibres for detector control and data communication and two electrical conductors for power distribution, connected to the shore station control and power feeding equipment, that can deliver up to 80 kW offshore. The cable is bifurcated in order to serve the two building blocks foreseen in ARCA.

During a 10 days long sea operation, which ended on November 17th, a cable termination frame (CTF) was installed on the northern branch of the cable. To this purpose the end of the cable, which was deployed already in 2020, was recovered from the sea floor and connected to the CTF onboard the deployment ship – the Ile d’Ouessant of Alcatel Submarine Networks. Then the CTF was carefully deployed to the target position on the sea floor. Extensive tests were done before and after the deployment to ensure its nominal behaviour.

The CTF is a large-size, 12-ton component which is equipped with four medium voltage converters and a total of 16 electrical and optical subsea connectors for connecting a set of submarine junction boxes to which the detection units will be in turn connected.

With this installation the connectivity and power transmission capabilities of the network have been increased by a factor four compared to the first part of the network, used to run the set of junction boxes and the first 30 detection units of ARCA Phase 1. This will allow for the completion of the construction of the first building block of ARCA and prepares the field for the installation of a second CTF on the other branch of the cable for the second building block.

The CTF at the end of the integration.
CTF onboard Ile d’Ouessant.
Overboarding of the CTF.

An inspiring collaboration meeting in Rome

31 October 2022 – What a week last week!

A large fraction of the KM3NeT collaboration met in Rome for a vibrant collaboration meeting, in remote connection with those who could not come in person.

The venue was Centro Ricerche Enrico Fermi, at the historical building where Enrico Fermi and his team made surprising discoveries in the ’30s. The site is also well known for a prestigious physics conference which was hosted there in 1931 and represented a milestone for nuclear research for decades. What a source of inspiration that was! It is in fact after a suggestion of Enrico Fermi that the neutrinos, those elusive particles which are the main subject of research of KM3NeT, were named so. He also formulated the first theory of weak interactions including neutrinos.

During the meeting we reviewed the progress in data analysis and in the construction of the ARCA and ORCA detectors. We also refined the plans for two new funding projects which are about to start in France and Italy – NEUMED and KM3NeT4RR – which will allow for significant extention of the two detectors.

The collaboration is growing: new research teams from Technical University of Prague (team leader: Ivan Stekl),  Comenius University of Bratislava (team leader: Fedor Simkovic) and Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique of Ben Guerir in Morocco (team leader: Ahmed Ratnani) were welcomed; and Yuri Y. Kovalev (now at MPIfR, Bonn) applied for joining as an associated member. Almost 30 new colleagues from the various international KM3NeT institutes and our new quality team, comprising quality manager Céline Pariès and quality officer Cédric Vérhilac, made their debut in a collaboration meeting.

Our management team was elected for a second two-year mandate.

With many thanks to our colleagues of La Sapienza University and INFN Rome for an excellent organisation!


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.