University of Wisconsin-Madison

IceCube Quick Facts

Science

  • About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body each second.
  • You would have to wait about 100 years for a neutrino to interact in a detector the size of a person. For the energy range that IceCube looks at, it would take 100,000 years to see a neutrino interact.
  • IceCube is designed to detect particles from cataclysmic events that have energies a million times greater than nuclear reactions.
  • Every day, 275 million cosmic rays are detected by IceCube.
  • IceCube detects 275 atmospheric neutrinos daily and about 100,000 per year.
  • About 300 scientists at 44 institutions in 12 countries conduct IceCube science.
  • One terabyte of unfiltered data is collected daily and about 100 gigabytes are sent over satellite for analysis.

Detector

  • The IceCube detector is one cubic kilometer of ice—that would be enough water to fill one million swimming pools.
  • IceCube is comprised of 86 cables, each holding 60 digital optical modules (DOMs).
  • Each of the 86 cables has a theme, and each DOM has a name that reflects that theme.
  • The 5,160 in-ice DOMs hold extremely sensitive light detectors, or photomultiplier tubes, along with minicomputers that relay data to the surface. An additional 324 DOMs make up a surface detector called IceTop.
  • DOMs are attached to the cables beginning at a depth of 1,450 meter and ending at a depth of 2,450 meters.
  • IceCube is frozen in optically clear ice that is very stable. The ice at the South Pole moves about 10 meters per year as single piece.

Construction

  • It took seven years (2004-2010) of work to complete the construction of IceCube.
  • Construction activities could only take place for a few months each year during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, roughly November through February.
  • The average time to drill a hole for the cable was approximately 48 hours, with the first hole taking 57 hours.
  • On average, 4,800 gallons, or 18,169 liters, of fuel was used to drill each hole.
  • About 200,000 gallons (more than 750,000 liters) of water were melted per hole during drilling.
  • The average time to deploy a cable was 11 hours.
  • The hot water hose used for drilling weighs 25,000 pounds.

Bibliography/Reference materials