A. Silvestri

RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (91)379.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the response of the IceCube neutrino telescope located at the geographic south pole to outbursts of MeV neutrinos from the core collapse of nearby massive stars. IceCube was completed in December 2010 forming a lattice of 5160 photomultiplier tubes that monitor a volume of ~1 km3 in the deep Antarctic ice for particle induced photons. The telescope was designed to detect neutrinos with energies greater than 100 GeV. Owing to subfreezing ice temperatures, the photomultiplier dark noise rates are particularly low. Hence IceCube can also detect large numbers of MeV neutrinos by observing a collective rise in all photomultiplier rates on top of the dark noise. With 2 ms timing resolution, IceCube can detect subtle features in the temporal development of the supernova neutrino burst. For a supernova at the galactic center, its sensitivity matches that of a background-free megaton-scale supernova search experiment. The sensitivity decreases to 20 standard deviations at the galactic edge (30 kpc) and 6 standard deviations at the Large Magellanic Cloud (50 kpc). IceCube is sending triggers from potential supernovae to the Supernova Early Warning System. The sensitivity to neutrino properties such as the neutrino hierarchy is discussed, as well as the possibility to detect the neutronization burst, a short outbreak of electron neutrinos released by electron capture on protons soon after collapse. Tantalizing signatures, such as the formation of a quark star or a black hole as well as the characteristics of shock waves, are investigated to illustrate IceCube's capability for supernova detection.
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a measurement of the cosmic ray energy spectrum with the IceTop air shower array, the surface component of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole. The data used in this analysis were taken between June and October, 2007, with 26 surface stations operational at that time, corresponding to about one third of the final array. The fiducial area used in this analysis was 0.122 km^2. The analysis investigated the energy spectrum from 1 to 100 PeV measured for three different zenith angle ranges between 0{\deg} and 46{\deg}. Because of the isotropy of cosmic rays in this energy range the spectra from all zenith angle intervals have to agree. The cosmic-ray energy spectrum was determined under different assumptions on the primary mass composition. Good agreement of spectra in the three zenith angle ranges was found for the assumption of pure proton and a simple two-component model. For zenith angles {\theta} < 30{\deg}, where the mass dependence is smallest, the knee in the cosmic ray energy spectrum was observed between 3.5 and 4.32 PeV, depending on composition assumption. Spectral indices above the knee range from -3.08 to -3.11 depending on primary mass composition assumption. Moreover, an indication of a flattening of the spectrum above 22 PeV were observed.
    Astroparticle Physics 04/2013; 44:40-58. · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The first dedicated search for ultrahigh-energy (UHE) tau neutrinos of astrophysical origin was performed using the IceCube detector in its 22-string configuration with an instrumented volume of roughly 0.25 km3. The search also had sensitivity to UHE electron and muon neutrinos. After application of all selection criteria to approximately 200 live-days of data, we expect a background of 0.60±0.19(stat)+0.56/-0.58(syst) events and observe three events, which after inspection, emerge as being compatible with background but are kept in the final sample. Therefore, we set an upper limit on neutrinos of all flavors from UHE astrophysical sources at 90% C.L. of Eν2Φ90(νx)<16.3×10-8 GeV cm-2 sr -1 s-1 over an estimated primary neutrino energy range of 340 TeV to 200 PeV.
    Physical Review D 07/2012; 86(2):022005. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.86.022005 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) have been proposed as a leading candidate for acceleration of ultra high-energy cosmic rays, which would be accompanied by emission of TeV neutrinos produced in proton-photon interactions during acceleration in the GRB fireball. Two analyses using data from two years of the IceCube detector produced no evidence for this neutrino emission, placing strong constraints on models of neutrino and cosmic-ray production in these sources.
    Nature 04/2012; 484:351. DOI:10.1038/nature11068 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we present the results of searches for periodic neutrino emission from a catalog of binary systems. Such modulation, observed in the photon flux, would be caused by the geometry of these systems. In the analysis, the period is fixed by these photon observations, while the phase and duration of the neutrino emission are treated as free parameters to be fit with the data. If the emission occurs during ~20% or less of the total period, this analysis achieves better sensitivity than a time-integrated analysis. We use the IceCube data taken from May 31, 2007 to April 5, 2008 with its 22-string configuration, and from April 5, 2008 to May 20, 2009 with its 40-string configuration. No evidence for neutrino emission is found, with the strongest excess occurring for Cygnus X-3 at 2.1 sigma significance after accounting for trials. Neutrino flux upper limits for both periodic and time-integrated emission are provided.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2012; 748(2):118. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/748/2/118 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Transient neutrino sources such as Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and Supernovae (SNe) are hypothesized to emit bursts of high-energy neutrinos on a time-scale of \lesssim 100 s. While GRB neutrinos would be produced in high relativistic jets, core-collapse SNe might host soft-relativistic jets, which become stalled in the outer layers of the progenitor star leading to an efficient production of high-energy neutrinos. Aims. To increase the sensitivity to these neutrinos and identify their sources, a low-threshold optical follow-up program for neutrino multiplets detected with the IceCube observatory has been implemented. Methods. If a neutrino multiplet, i.e. two or more neutrinos from the same direction within 100 s, is found by IceCube a trigger is sent to the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment, ROTSE. The 4 ROTSE telescopes immediately start an observation program of the corresponding region of the sky in order to detect an optical counterpart to the neutrino events. Results. No statistically significant excess in the rate of neutrino multiplets has been observed and furthermore no coincidence with an optical counterpart was found. Conclusion. The search allows, for the first time, to set stringent limits on current models predicting a high-energy neutrino flux from soft relativistic hadronic jets in core-collapse SNe. We conclude that a sub-population of SNe with typical Lorentz boost factor and jet energy of 10 and 3\times10^{51} erg, respectively, does not exceed 4.2% at 90% confidence.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2012; 539. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201118071 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A search for an excess of muon neutrinos from dark matter annihilations in the Sun has been performed with the AMANDA-II neutrino telescope using data collected in 812 days of live time between 2001 and 2006 and 149 days of live time collected with the AMANDA-II and the 40-string configuration of IceCube during 2008 and early 2009. No excess over the expected atmospheric neutrino background has been observed. We combine these results with the previously published IceCube limits obtained with data taken during 2007 to obtain a total live time of 1065 days. We provide an upper limit at 90% confidence level on the annihilation rate of captured neutralinos in the Sun, as well as the corresponding muon flux limit at the Earth, both as functions of the neutralino mass in the range 50–5000 GeV. We also derive a limit on the neutralino-proton spin-dependent and spin-independent cross section. The limits presented here improve the previous results obtained by the collaboration between a factor of 2 and 5, as well as extending the neutralino masses probed down to 50 GeV. The spin-dependent cross section limits are the most stringent so far for neutralino masses above 200 GeV, and well below direct search results in the mass range from 50 GeV to 5 TeV.
    Physical Review D 02/2012; 85(4):042002. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.85.042002 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we report the first observation in the Southern hemisphere of an energy dependence in the Galactic cosmic ray anisotropy up to a few hundred TeV. This measurement was performed using cosmic ray induced muons recorded by the partially deployed IceCube observatory between May 2009 and May 2010. The data include a total of 33$\times 10^{9}$ muon events with a median angular resolution of $\sim3^{\circ}$ degrees. A sky map of the relative intensity in arrival direction over the Southern celestial sky is presented for cosmic ray median energies of 20 and 400 TeV. The same large-scale anisotropy observed at median energies around 20 TeV is not present at 400 TeV. Instead, the high energy skymap shows a different anisotropy structure including a deficit with a post-trial significance of -6.3$\sigma$. This anisotropy reveals a new feature of the Galactic cosmic ray distribution, which must be incorporated into theories of the origin and propagation of cosmic rays.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2012; 746(1):33. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/746/1/33 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Between May 2009 and May 2010, the IceCube neutrino detector at the South Pole recorded 32 billion muons generated in air showers produced by cosmic rays with a median energy of 20 TeV. With a data set of this size, it is possible to probe the southern sky for per-mille anisotropy on all angular scales in the arrival direction distribution of cosmic rays. Applying a power spectrum analysis to the relative intensity map of the cosmic ray flux in the southern hemisphere, we show that the arrival direction distribution is not isotropic, but shows significant structure on several angular scales. In addition to previously reported large-scale structure in the form of a strong dipole and quadrupole, the data show small-scale structure on scales between 15 degrees and 30 degrees. The skymap exhibits several localized regions of significant excess and deficit in cosmic ray intensity. The relative intensity of the smaller-scale structures is about a factor of 5 weaker than that of the dipole and quadrupole structure. The most significant structure, an excess localized at right ascension 122.4 degrees and declination -47.4 degrees, extends over at least 20 degrees in right ascension and has a post-trials significance of 5.3 sigma. The origin of this anisotropy is still unknown.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2012; 745(1):45. · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The detection of acoustic signals from ultra-high energy neutrino interactions is a promising method to measure the tiny flux of cosmogenic neutrinos expected on Earth. The energy threshold for this process depends strongly on the absolute noise level in the target material. The South Pole Acoustic Test Setup (SPATS), deployed in the upper part of four boreholes of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, has monitored the noise in Antarctic ice at the geographic South Pole for more than two years down to 500 m depth. The noise is very stable and Gaussian distributed. Lacking an in-situ calibration up to now, laboratory measurements have been used to estimate the absolute noise level in the 10 to 50 kHz frequency range to be smaller than 20 mPa. Using a threshold trigger, sensors of the South Pole Acoustic Test Setup registered acoustic pulse-like events in the IceCube detector volume and its vicinity. Acoustic signals from refreezing IceCube holes and from anthropogenic sources have been used to localize acoustic events. Monte Carlo simulations of sound propagating from the established sources to the SPATS sensors have allowed to check corresponding model expectations. An upper limit on the neutrino flux at energies $E_\nu > 10^{11}$ GeV is derived from acoustic data taken over eight months.
    Astroparticle Physics 01/2012; 35(6):312-324. DOI:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2011.09.004 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a search for high-energy muon neutrinos with the IceCube detector in coincidence with the Crab Nebula flare reported on 2010 September by various experiments. Due to the unusual flaring state of the otherwise steady source we performed a prompt analysis of the 79-string configuration data to search for neutrinos that might be emitted along with the observed γ-rays. We performed two different and complementary data selections of neutrino events in the time window of 10 days around the flare. One event selection is optimized for discovery of E –2 ν neutrino spectrum typical of first-order Fermi acceleration. A similar event selection has also been applied to the 40-string data to derive the time-integrated limits to the neutrino emission from the Crab. The other event selection was optimized for discovery of neutrino spectra with softer spectral index and TeV energy cutoffs as observed for various Galactic sources in γ-rays. The 90% confidence level (CL) best upper limits on the Crab flux during the 10 day flare are 4.73 × 10–11 cm–2 s–1 TeV–1 for an E –2 ν neutrino spectrum and 2.50 × 10–10 cm–2 s–1 TeV–1 for a softer neutrino spectra of E –2.7 ν, as indicated by Fermi measurements during the flare. In this paper, we also illustrate the impact of the time-integrated limit on the Crab neutrino steady emission. The limit obtained using 375.5 days of the 40-string configuration is compared to existing models of neutrino production from the Crab and its impact on astrophysical parameters is discussed. The most optimistic predictions of some models are already rejected by the IceCube neutrino telescope with more than 90% CL.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2011; 745(1):45. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/745/1/45 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents four searches for flaring sources of neutrinos using the IceCube neutrino telescope. For the first time, a search is performed over the entire parameter space of energy, direction, and time with sensitivity to neutrino flares lasting between 20 μs and a year duration from astrophysical sources. Searches that integrate over time are less sensitive to flares because they are affected by a larger background of atmospheric neutrinos and muons that can be reduced by the use of additional timing information. Flaring sources considered here, such as active galactic nuclei, soft gamma-ray repeaters, and gamma-ray bursts, are promising candidate neutrino emitters. Two searches are "untriggered" in the sense that they look for any possible flare in the entire sky and from a predefined catalog of sources from which photon flares have been recorded. The other two searches are triggered by multi-wavelength information on flares from blazars and from a soft gamma-ray repeater. One triggered search uses lightcurves from Fermi-LAT which provides continuous monitoring. A second triggered search uses information where the flux states have been measured only for short periods of time near the flares. The untriggered searches use data taken by 40 strings of IceCube between 2008 April 5 and 2009 May 20. The triggered searches also use data taken by the 22-string configuration of IceCube operating between 2007 May 31 and 2008 April 5. The results from all four searches are compatible with a fluctuation of the background.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2011; 744(1):1. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/744/1/1 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the response of the IceCube neutrino telescope located at the geographic South Pole to outbursts of MeV neutrinos from the core collapse of nearby massive stars. IceCube was completed in December 2010 forming a lattice of 5160 photomultiplier tubes that monitor a volume of ~ 1 cubic kilometer in the deep Antarctic ice for particle induced photons. The telescope was designed to detect neutrinos with energies greater than 100 GeV. Owing to subfreezing ice temperatures, the photomultiplier dark noise rates are particularly low. Hence IceCube can also detect large numbers of MeV neutrinos by observing a collective rise in all photomultiplier rates on top of the dark noise. With 2 ms timing resolution, IceCube can detect subtle features in the temporal development of the supernova neutrino burst. For a supernova at the galactic center, its sensitivity matches that of a background-free megaton-scale supernova search experiment. The sensitivity decreases to 20 standard deviations at the galactic edge (30 kpc) and 6 standard deviations at the Large Magellanic Cloud (50 kpc). IceCube is sending triggers from potential supernovae to the Supernova Early Warning System. The sensitivity to neutrino properties such as the neutrino hierarchy is discussed, as well as the possibility to detect the neutronization burst, a short outbreak of electron neutrinos released by electron capture on protons soon after collapse. Tantalizing signatures, such as the formation of a quark star or a black hole as well as the characteristics of shock waves, are investigated to illustrate IceCube's capability for supernova detection.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 11/2011; 539(A109). DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201117810 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on a search for extremely-high energy neutrinos with energies greater than $10^6$ GeV using the data taken with the IceCube detector at the South Pole. The data was collected between April 2008 and May 2009 with the half completed IceCube array. The absence of signal candidate events in the sample of 333.5 days of livetime significantly improves model independent limit from previous searches and allows to place a limit on the diffuse flux of cosmic neutrinos with an $E^{-2}$ spectrum in the energy range $2.0 \times 10^{6}$ $-$ $6.3 \times 10^{9}$ GeV to a level of $E^2 \phi \leq 3.6 \times 10^{-8}$ ${\rm GeV cm^{-2} sec^{-1}sr^{-1}}$.
    Physical Review D 10/2011; 84(7):079902(E). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.84.079902 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a 1 km 3 detector currently taking data at the South Pole. One of the main strategies used to look for astrophysical neutrinos with IceCube is the search for a diffuse flux of high-energy neutrinos from unresolved sources. A hard energy spectrum of neutrinos from isotropically distributed astrophysical sources could manifest itself as a detectable signal that may be differentiated from the atmospheric neutrino background by spectral measurement. This analysis uses data from the IceCube detector collected in its half completed configuration which operated between April 2008 and May 2009 to search for a diffuse flux of astrophysical muon neutrinos. A total of 12,877 upward going candidate neutrino events have been selected for this analysis. No evidence for a diffuse flux of astrophysical muon neutrinos was found in the data set leading to a 90 percent C.L. upper limit on the normalization of an E −2 astrophysical νµ flux of 8.9×10 −9 GeV cm −2 s −1 sr −1 . The analysis is sensitive in the energy range between 35 TeV−7 PeV. The 12,877 candidate neutrino events are consistent with atmospheric muon neutrinos measured from 332 GeV to 84 TeV and no evidence for a prompt component to the atmospheric neutrino spectrum is found.
    Physical Review D 10/2011; 84(8):082001. · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the first search for atmospheric and for diffuse astrophysical neutrino-induced showers (cascades) in the IceCube detector using 257 days of data collected in the year 2007-2008 with 22 strings active. A total of 14 events with energies above 16 TeV remained after event selections in the diffuse analysis, with an expected total background contribution of $8.3\pm 3.6$. At 90% confidence we set an upper limit of $E^2\Phi_{90%CL}<3.6\times10^{-7} GeV \cdot cm^{-2} \cdot s^{-1}\cdot sr^{-1} $ on the diffuse flux of neutrinos of all flavors in the energy range between 24 TeV and 6.6 PeV assuming that $\Phi \propto E^{-2}$ and that the flavor composition of the $\nu_e : \nu_\mu : \nu_\tau$ flux is $1 : 1 : 1$ at the Earth. The atmospheric neutrino analysis was optimized for lower energies. A total of 12 events were observed with energies above 5 TeV. The observed number of events is consistent with the expected background, within the uncertainties.
    Physical Review D 10/2011; 84:072001. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.84.072001 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the first search for atmospheric and for diffuse astrophysical neutrino-induced show-ers (cascades) in the IceCube detector using 257 days of data collected in the year 2007-2008 with 22 strings active. A total of 14 events with energies above 16 TeV remained after event selections in the diffuse analysis, with an expected total background contribution of 8.3 ± 3.6. At 90% confidence we set an upper limit of E 2 Φ 90%CL < 3.6 × 10 −7 GeV · cm −2 · s −1 · sr −1 on the diffuse flux of neutrinos of all flavors in the energy range between 24 TeV and 6.6 PeV assuming that Φ ∝ E −2 and that the flavor composition of the νe : νµ : ντ flux is 1 : 1 : 1 at the Earth. The atmospheric neutrino analysis was optimized for lower energies. A total of 12 events were observed with energies above 5 TeV. The observed number of events is consistent with the expected background, within the uncertainties.
    Physical Review D 10/2011; 84(7):072001. · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Self-annihilating or decaying dark matter in the Galactic halo might produce high energy neutrinos detectable with neutrino telescopes. We have conducted a search for such a signal using 276 days of data from the IceCube 22-string configuration detector acquired during 2007 and 2008. The effect of halo model choice in the extracted limit is reduced by performing a search that considers the outer halo region and not the Galactic Center. We constrain any large scale neutrino anisotropy and are able to set a limit on the dark matter self-annihilation cross section of <\sigma_{A}v> \simeq 10^{-22} cm^3/s for WIMP masses above 1 TeV, assuming a monochromatic neutrino line spectrum.
    Physical Review D 07/2011; 84:022004. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.84.022004 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a 1 km$^{3}$ detector currently taking data at the South Pole. One of the main strategies used to look for astrophysical neutrinos with IceCube is the search for a diffuse flux of high-energy neutrinos from unresolved sources. A hard energy spectrum of neutrinos from isotropically distributed astrophysical sources could manifest itself as a detectable signal that may be differentiated from the atmospheric neutrino background by spectral measurement. This analysis uses data from the IceCube detector collected in its half completed configuration which operated between April 2008 and May 2009 to search for a diffuse flux of astrophysical muon neutrinos. A total of 12,877 upward going candidate neutrino events have been selected for this analysis. No evidence for a diffuse flux of astrophysical muon neutrinos was found in the data set leading to a 90 percent C.L. upper limit on the normalization of an $E^{-2}$ astrophysical $\nu_{\mu}$ flux of $8.9 \times 10^{-9} \ \mathrm{GeV \ cm^{-2} \ s^{-1} \ sr^{-1}}$. The analysis is sensitive in the energy range between $35 \ \mathrm{TeV} - 7 \ \mathrm{PeV}$. The 12,877 candidate neutrino events are consistent with atmospheric muon neutrinos measured from 332 GeV to 84 TeV and no evidence for a prompt component to the atmospheric neutrino spectrum is found.
    Physical Review D 04/2011; 84(8). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevD.84.082001 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IceCube has become the first neutrino telescope with a sensitivity below the TeV neutrino flux predicted from gamma-ray bursts if GRBs are responsible for the observed cosmic-ray flux above $10^{18}$ eV. Two separate analyses using the half-complete IceCube detector, one a dedicated search for neutrinos from $p \gamma$-interactions in the prompt phase of the GRB fireball, and the other a generic search for any neutrino emission from these sources over a wide range of energies and emission times, produced no evidence for neutrino emission, excluding prevailing models at 90% confidence.
    Physical Review Letters 04/2011; 106(14):141101. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.141101 · 7.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
379.27 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2011
    • RWTH Aachen University
      • III. Physikalisches Institut A: Particle Physics
      Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Physics
      Maryland, United States
    • Universiteit Utrecht
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Utrecht, Provincie Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2001–2011
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Department of Physics
      Madison, MS, United States
  • 2005–2010
    • The Ohio State University
      • • Department of Astronomy
      • • Department of Physics
      Columbus, Ohio, United States
  • 2003–2007
    • University of California, Irvine
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Irvine, California, United States
  • 2006
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      • Department of Physics
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 2004–2006
    • Bergische Universität Wuppertal
      Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2003–2004
    • Stockholm University
      • Department of Physics
      Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2002
    • Uppsala University
      • Department of Radiology, Oncology and Radiation Science
      Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden