2018 October – The Dutch organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will fund a new antenna network at the Pierre Auger Observatory. The research group Cosmic Ray Research at Radboud University and Nikhef will receive 2.5 million € from the NWO Large Investment Grant programme.
Together with the ERC Advanced Grant of 3.5 million €, which was given to Jörg Hörandel in April, the funds will allow hardware and the required man power to build the radio upgrade and add an antenna to each of the 1660 surface detector stations over the full 3,000 km2 area. Thus the radio upgrade will be part of the AugerPrime upgrade, which also consists of the installation of a plastic scintillator detector (SSD) on top of each existing surface detector (SD) station, enhanced SD electronics with an Upgraded Unified Board, addition of a small photomultiplier to the SD, installation of the underground scintillator muon detector AMIGA and measures to increase the duty cycle of the fluorescence detector.
The radio upgrade will be a very important part of the future research of the Pierre Auger Observatory by adding array-based composition sensitivity for large zenith angles, for which the scintillator upgrade is not effective. Having good composition-sensitive information up to very large zenith angles is crucial for composition-improved anisotropy studies and adds to the overall aperture of the observatory.