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19 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 123.
Title KM3NeT: The next generation neutrino telescope (KM3NeT)
Executive organisational unit FOM-Nikhef
Programme management Dr. A.J. Heijboer
Duration 2010-2016
Cost estimate M€ 8.8

The main scientific objective of KM3NeT is the discovery of neutrino sources in the universe. The research infrastructure will house a neutrino telescope with a total volume of several cubic kilometres of instrumented natural water in the deep seas of the Mediterranean. The research infrastructure will also provide the Earth and Sea science community with a node at each installation site for connection of instrumentation, providing the possibility of continuous, real-time and high-frequency observations in three locations in the Mediterranean.

Background, relevance and implementation
KM3NeT is a distributed multi-disciplinary research infrastructure. The neutrino telescope will be geographically distributed over three sites in the deep seas of the Mediterranean (France, Italy and Greece). It will be operated as a single telescope. Each site will provide a node for Earth and Sea Science research.
Following the EU funded Design Study and Preparatory Phase, the KM3NeT consortium has agreed on a common technology. A collaboration was formed in 2013. The total capital invest­ment required for the full KM3NeT infrastructure is estimated at M€ 220–250. The design allows for a staged implementation of the infrastructure. The currently available funds (approximately M€ 40) are used for the implementation of the first phase of KM3NeT. This phase is now under construction and comprises the installation of the shore infrastructure, a network of deep-sea cables and a node for instrumentation at each site and the deployment of a substantial number of detection units for neutrino astronomy. A following, intermediate, phase of KM3NeT is now foreseen before the implementation of the full infrastructure to con­firm and study the signal of cosmic neutrinos that was recently discovered by the IceCube detector.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been prepared that will be signed by the fun­ding agencies shortly. KM3NeT appears on the ESFRI Roadmap and on the national roadmap for large scale research infrastructures. It is planned to evolve to an ERIC with the KM3NeT headquarters in the Netherlands. Depending on available funds, the construction of the research infrastructure could be completed by 2020.
The technology that will be used for the neutrino telescope is based on a Dutch design. This includes a fibre-optic system for data transmission ('All-data-to-shore'), ultra low-power high voltage circuits for the photo-sensors (PMTs), a multi-PMT optical module for the large field-of-view camera and re-usable launcher vehicles for the deployment of the 12,800 cameras. Early 2013, KM3NeT elected Prof.dr. M. de Jong as the first spokesperson of the recently formed collaboration. Two (of the nine) project leaders are from Nikhef.
Early 2013, KM3NeT elected Prof.dr. M. de Jong as the first spokesperson of the recently formed collaboration. Two (of the nine) project leaders are from Nikhef.

The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2017.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.