Primary proton spectrum around the knee observed by the Tibet air-shower experiment

M. Amenomori, S. Ayabe, D. Chen, S. W. Cui, Danzengluobu, L. K. Ding, X. H. Ding, C. F. Feng, Z. Y. Feng, X. Y. Gao, Q. X. Geng, H. W. Guo, H. H. He, M. He, K. Hibino, N. Hotta, Haibing Hu, H. B. Hu, J. Huang*, Q. HuangH. Y. Jia, F. Kajino, K. Kasahara, Y. Katayose, C. Kato, K. Kawata, Labaciren, G. M. Le, J. Y. Li, H. Lu, S. L. Lu, X. R. Meng, K. Mizutani, J. Mu, K. Munakata, A. Nagai, H. Nanjo, M. Nishizawa, M. Ohnishi, I. Ohta, H. Onuma, T. Ouchi, Shunsuke Ozawa, J. R. Ren, T. Saito, M. Sakata, T. Sasaki, M. Shibata, A. Shiomi, T. Shirai, H. Sugimoto, M. Takita, Y. H. Tan, N. Tateyama, Shoji Torii, H. Tsuchiya, S. Udo, H. Wang, X. Wang, Y. G. Wang, H. R. Wu, L. Xue, Y. Yamamoto, C. T. Yan, X. C. Yang, S. Yasue, Z. H. Ye, G. C. Yu, A. F. Yuan, T. Yuda, H. M. Zhang, J. L. Zhang, N. J. Zhang, X. Y. Zhang, Y. Zhang, Yi Zhang, Zhaxisangzhu, X. X. Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Simultaneous observation of γ-families and their accompanying air showers was performed at Yangbajing (4300 m above sea level) in Tibet with the emulsion chambers and burst detectors which were linked with the Tibet-II air-shower array. For three years operation, we observed 177 γ-families (∑Eγ > 20 TeV) accompanying air showers with the size Ne > 2 × 105. Using this data and the simulation code CORSIKA, we obtained the primary proton spectrum in the energy range of 1015-1016 eV. The slope of the observed spectrum is steeper than that extrapolated smoothly from the lower energy region below 1014 eV, irrespective of the interaction models assumed in the simulation. The uncertainty of the absolute flux of protons due to the interaction model dependence involved in the simulation codes is at most 30%, which is much weaker than results of other air-shower experiments. Our experiment shows low intensity of light components (proton and helium) independent of the interaction models suggesting that the main component responsible for making the knee structure of the all-particle spectrum is composed of nuclei heavier than helium. This is the first measurement of the differential energy spectra of primary protons by selecting them event by event at the knee energy region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1938-1943
    Number of pages6
    JournalAdvances in Space Research
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • γ-Family
    • Cosmic rays
    • Knee region
    • Neural network
    • Proton

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Space and Planetary Science
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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