Gamma-Ray Astrophysics at the Energy Threshold of Cherenkov Telescopes

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Date/Time:Monday, 16 Nov 2009 from 2:10 am to 3:10 am
Location:Physics, room 18/19
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Nepomuk Otte (University of California, Santa Cruz)

For the last five years, gamma-ray astronomy from the ground has provided us with fantastic results, which address questions in astro particle physics, cosmology, and fundamental physics. The workhorses in the field are imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes, which are the most sensitive instruments to explore the gamma-ray sky above 100 GeV. I discuss the efforts to lower the energy threshold of Cherenkov telescopes, and the detection of the Crab pulsar as a product of these efforts.

For the future two large arrays of Cherenkov telescopes are planned, which will achieve ten times better sensitivity than existing instruments. In the US the AGIS collaboration is pursuing an array of 36 Cherenkov telescopes with a Schwarzschild Couder design. I discuss my work on a novel type of photon detector for AGIS, the Geiger mode APD, and briefly describe ongoing studies of possible trigger concepts for AGIS.


Since 2008: Postdoctoral research scholar and Feodor Lynen Fellow with David A. Williams at the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz. Member of the VERITAS and AGIS collaborations, Fermi-LAT Affiliated Scientist. Main interests: Observation of compact objects in our Galaxy. Active galactic nuclei with a focus on extending the list of known TeV blazars and constraining the extragalactic background light. Progressing the imaging atmospheric Cherenkov technique towards lower energies. Investigation of new photon detectors and trigger concepts for Cherenkov telescopes.

2007: Postdoctoral research scholar at the Max-Planck-Insitute for Physics, Munich, Germany. Detection of the Crab Pulsar with the MAGIC telescope at 25 GeV (SCIENCE 322 5905, pp. 1221-1224 (2008)).

2004-2007: Doctorate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics and the Technical University, Munich, Germany. Development of novel semiconductor photon detectors. Coleader of the galaxy and cluster science working group. Leader of the Low energy working group.

1998-2003: Study course in Physics at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany. Diploma thesis at the Gesellschaft fuer Schwerionenforschung (GSI) Darmstadt.