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Czechoslovak Journal of Physics

, Volume 56, Supplement 1, pp A327–A336 | Cite as

Photon air showers at ultra-high energy and the photonuclear cross-section

  • M. Risse
  • P. Homola
  • R. Engel
  • D. Góra
  • D. Heck
  • J. Pekala
  • B. Wilczyńska
  • H. Wilczyński
Article

Abstract

Experimental conclusions from air shower observations on cosmic-ray photons above 1019 eV are based on the comparison to detailed shower simulations. For the calculations, the photonuclear cross-section needs to be extrapolated over several orders of magnitude in energy. The uncertainty from the cross-section extrapolation translates into an uncertainty of the predicted shower features for primary photons and, thus, into uncertainties for a possible data interpretation. After briefly reviewing the current status of ultra-high energy photon studies, the impact of the uncertainty of the photonuclear cross-section for shower calculations is investigated. Estimates for the uncertainties in the main shower observables are provided. Photon discrimination is shown to be possible even for rapidly rising cross-sections. When photon-initiated showers are identi-ed, it is argued that the sensitivity of photon shower observables to the photonuclear cross-section can in turn be exploited to constrain the cross-section at energies not accessible at colliders.

Key words

cosmic rays air shower photon cross-section 

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Copyright information

© Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Risse
    • 1
  • P. Homola
    • 2
  • R. Engel
    • 1
  • D. Góra
    • 2
  • D. Heck
    • 1
  • J. Pekala
    • 2
  • B. Wilczyńska
    • 2
  • H. Wilczyński
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für KernphysikForschungszentrum KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Nuclear PhysicsPolish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland

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