Delayed energetic events in extensive air showers

Bhat, P. N. ; Gupta, S. K. ; Ramana Murthy, P. V. ; Sreekantan, B. V. ; Tonwar, S. C. ; Viswanath, P. R. (1982) Delayed energetic events in extensive air showers Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology, 25 (11). pp. 2820-2836. ISSN 1550-7998

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Production of massive (≥ 10 GeV/c2) strongly interacting particles in very-high-energy interactions has been suggested by many theories. These particles, if produced in the cores of extensive air showers in the upper atmosphere, would arrive at the observational level delayed by tens of nanoseconds relative to all other known particles of similar energy, provided they are relatively stable (lifetime > 10-6s). Experiments searching for such particles have reported observing delayed (>20 ns) energetic (>40 GeV) events. However several anomalous features observed for these events have precluded their interpretation in terms of massive particles with ordinary hadronic interaction characteristics in a conclusive manner. We report here the details of a new experiment carried out at the Ooty laboratory during 1978-1981 where we have attempted to study the delayed energetic events with a multidetector system placed inside the large Ooty multiplate cloud chamber. Our observations show that the delayed energetic events could not be ascribed to high-energy hadronlike interactions of a massive strongly interacting particle. We have observed one delayed event showing a high-energy cascade in cloud chamber but inadequate timing information does not make a convincing case for this event to be due to a high-energy delayed massive hadron. However this event combined with observation of two similar events earlier by Tonwar et al. suggest the existence of some interesting phenomenon requiring observations over a long period of time. We have obtained a 99%-C.L. upper limit of 1.7×10-11 cm-2 s-1 sr-1 for the flux of massive particles in extensive air showers of size ∼(5×104)-(5×106) particles which corresponds to an upper limit of 2.5×10-33 cm2 for the production cross section for particles of mass > 10 GeV/c2 at energies of ∼105-107 GeV.

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