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    The origin of cosmic high-energy neutrinos remains largely unexplained. For high-energy neutrino alerts from IceCube, a coincidence with time-variable emission has been seen for three different types of accreting black holes: (1) a gamma-ray flare from a blazar (TXS 0506+056), (2) an optical transient following a stellar tidal disruption event (TDE; AT2019dsg), and (3) an optical outburst from an active galactic nucleus (AGN; AT2019fdr). For the latter two sources, infrared follow-up observations revealed a powerful reverberation signal due to dust heated by the flare. This discovery motivates a systematic study of neutrino emission from all supermassive black hole with similar dust echoes. Because dust reprocessing is agnostic to the origin of the outburst, our work unifies TDEs and high-amplitude flares from AGN into a population that we dub accretion flares. Besides the two known events, we uncover a third flare that is coincident with a PeV-scale neutrino (AT2019aalc). Based solely on the optical and infrared properties, we estimate a significance of 3.6σ for this association of high-energy neutrinos with three accretion flares. Our results imply that at least ∼10 per cent of the IceCube high-energy neutrino alerts could be due to accretion flares. This is surprising because the sum of the fluence of these flares is at least three orders of magnitude lower compared to the total fluence of normal AGN. It thus appears that the efficiency of high-energy neutrino production in accretion flares is increased compared to non-flaring AGN. We speculate that this can be explained by the high Eddington ratio of the flares.

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  2. Abstract. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory instruments about 1 km3 of deep, glacial ice at the geographic South Pole. It uses 5160 photomultipliers to detect Cherenkov light emitted by charged relativistic particles. An unexpected light propagation effect observed by the experiment is an anisotropic attenuation, which is aligned with the local flow direction of the ice. We examine birefringent light propagation through the polycrystalline ice microstructure as a possible explanation for this effect. The predictions of a first-principles model developed for this purpose, in particular curved light trajectories resulting from asymmetric diffusion, provide a qualitatively good match to the main features of the data. This in turn allows us to deduce ice crystal properties. Since the wavelength of the detected light is short compared to the crystal size, these crystal properties include not only the crystal orientation fabric, but also the average crystal size and shape, as a function of depth. By adding small empirical corrections to this first-principles model, a quantitatively accurate description of the optical properties of the IceCube glacial ice is obtained. In this paper, we present the experimental signature of ice optical anisotropy observed in IceCube light-emitting diode (LED) calibration data, the theory and parameterization of the birefringence effect, the fitting procedures of these parameterizations to experimental data, and the inferred crystal properties.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
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  5. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole has measured the diffuse astrophysical neutrino flux up to ~PeV energies and is starting to identify first point source candidates. The next generation facility, IceCube-Gen2, aims at extending the accessible energy range to EeV in order to measure the continuation of the astrophysical spectrum, to identify neutrino sources, and to search for a cosmogenic neutrino flux. As part of IceCube-Gen2, a radio array is foreseen that is sensitive to detect Askaryan emission of neutrinos beyond ~30 PeV. Surface and deep antenna stations have different benefits in terms of effective area, resolution, and the capability to reject backgrounds from cosmic-ray air showers and may be combined to reach the best sensitivity. The optimal detector configuration is still to be identified. This contribution presents the full-array simulation efforts for a combination of deep and surface antennas, and compares different design options with respect to their sensitivity to fulfill the science goals of IceCube-Gen2. 
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  6. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory opened the window on high-energy neutrino astronomy by confirming the existence of PeV astrophysical neutrinos and identifying the first compelling astrophysical neutrino source in the blazar TXS0506+056. Planning is underway to build an enlarged detector, IceCube-Gen2, which will extend measurements to higher energies, increase the rate of observed cosmic neutrinos and provide improved prospects for detecting fainter sources. IceCube-Gen2 is planned to have an extended in-ice optical array, a radio array at shallower depths for detecting ultra-high-energy (>100 PeV) neutrinos, and a surface component studying cosmic rays. In this contribution, we will discuss the simulation of the in-ice optical component of the baseline design of the IceCube-Gen2 detector, which foresees the deployment of an additional ~120 new detection strings to the existing 86 in IceCube over ~7 Antarctic summer seasons. Motivated by the phased construction plan for IceCube-Gen2, we discuss how the reconstruction capabilities and sensitivities of the instrument are expected to progress throughout its deployment. 
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