Neutrino Telescope Array Letter of Intent: A Large Array of High Resolution Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov and Fluorescence Detectors for Survey of Air-showers from Cosmic Tau Neutrinos in the PeV-EeV Energy Range
This Letter of Intent (LoI) describes the outline and plan for the Neutrino Telescope Array (NTA) project. High-energy neutrinos provide unique and indisputable evidence for hadronic acceleration. Recently, IceCube has reported astronomical neutrino candidates in excess of expectation from atmospheric secondaries, but is limited by the water Cherenkov detection method. A next generation high-energy neutrino telescope should be capable of establishing indisputable evidence for cosmic high-energy neutrinos. It should not only have orders-of-magnitude larger sensitivity, but also enough pointing accuracy to probe known or unknown astronomical objects, without suffering from atmospheric secondaries. The proposed installation is a large array of compound eye stations of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov and fluorescence detectors, with wide field of view and refined observational ability of air showers from cosmic tau neutrinos in the PeV-EeV energy range. This advanced optical complex system is based substantially on the development of All-sky Survey High Resolution Air-shower detector (Ashra) and applies the tau shower Earth-skimming method to survey PeV-EeV tau neutrinos. It allows wide (30 deg x 360 deg) and deep (~400 Mpc) survey observation for PeV-EeV tau neutrinos assuming the standard GRB neutrino fluence.In addition, it enjoys the pointing accuracy of better than 0.2 deg in essentially background-free conditions. With the advanced imaging of Earth-skimming tau showers in the wide field of view, we aim for clear discovery and identification of astronomical tau neutrino sources, providing inescapable evidence of the astrophysical hadronic model for acceleration and/or propagation of extremely high energy protons in the precisely determined direction.