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Performance studies for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) with prospects for detecting pulsed gamma-ray emission.

RULTEN, CAMERON,BOYD (2012) Performance studies for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) with prospects for detecting pulsed gamma-ray emission. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Currently in the design stage, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is an advanced facility for ground-based high-energy gamma-ray astronomy. This research presents the projected system performance of CTA calculated as part of a large Monte Carlo simulation effort including air shower and telescope response simulations. The integral sensitivity of CTA’s baseline Subarray-E is found to be nearly an order of magnitude more sensitive between 100 GeV and 10 TeV compared to existing ground-based Cherenkov telescope systems. This research finds that this particular subarray achieves CTA’s goal of milli-Crab sensitivity at 1 TeV. In addition, this work uses a multi-layer perceptron neural network to separate the cosmic-ray background from the gamma-ray signal. This includes employing 5 different methods for estimating the neural network response cut, with the energy-scaled signifi- cance method being found to provide the best and most stable performance. Performance measures calculated include: energy resolution, angular resolution, effective collecting area as well as flux sensitivity. In addition, the results of three small studies are also presented. The first includes the performance results of a high-altitude (3700 m) subarray. This re- search confirms a gain in sensitivity at the lowest detectable energies under ∼100 GeV. The second and third are small technical studies on CTA’s dynamic range performance. Finally, to assess CTA’s prospects for detecting pulsed gamma-ray emission data for the Crab and Vela pulsars taken from Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope observations are analysed and compared with the CTA sensitivity performance derived in this research. Results for CTA Subarray-E and Subarray-B suggest these arrays will both have sufficient sensitivity perfor- mance for detecting the Vela pulsar if it behaves as expected on the basis of the published spectra.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Gamma-ray, gamma-ray astronomy, Cherenkov telescope, Cherenkov radiation, CTA, Cherenkov Telescope Array, Pulsars, Fermi telescope, Monte Carlo simulations, next generation telescope array, sensitivity performance, cosmic rays, extensive air showers, synchrotron radiation, curvature radiation, outer-gap models, Crab pulsar, Vela pulsar, pulsed gamma-ray emission, high-energy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Physics, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Jun 2012 13:01

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