Regular Article - Experimental Physics
The Mercedes water Cherenkov detector
Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas (LIP), Lisbon, Portugal
2 Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
3 Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
4 Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (CBPF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
5 Università di Padova, INFN and INAF, 35131, Padua, Italy
6 Computer Architecture and Technology Department, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
Accepted: 27 September 2022
Published online: 11 October 2022
The concept of a small, single-layer water Cherenkov detector, with three photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), placed at its bottom in a star configuration (Mercedes Water Cherenkov Detector) is presented. The PMTs are placed near the lateral walls of the stations with an adjustable inclination and may be installed inside or outside the water volume. To illustrate the technical viability of this concept and obtain a first-order estimation of its cost, an engineering design was elaborated. The sensitivity of these stations to low energy Extensive Air Shower (EAS) electrons, photons and muons is discussed, both in compact and sparse array configurations. It is shown that the analysis of the intensity and time patterns of the PMT signals, using machine learning techniques, enables the tagging of muons, achieving an excellent gamma/hadron discrimination for TeV showers. This concept minimises the station production and maintenance costs, allowing for a highly flexible and fast installation. Mercedes Water Cherenkov Detectors (WCDs) are thus well-suited for use in high-altitude large gamma-ray observatories covering an extended energy range from the low energies, closing the gap between satellite and ground-based measurements, to very high energy regions, beyond the PeV scale.
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