Symmetrizing the signal distribution of radio emission from inclined air showers
2019 August 22
Radio detection of inclined air showers currently receives special attention. It can be performed with very sparse antenna arrays and yields a pure measurement of the electromagnetic air-shower component, thus delivering information that is highly complementary to the measurement of the muonic component using particle detectors. However, radio-based reconstruction of inclined air showers is challenging in light of asymmetries induced in the radio-signal distribution by early-late effects as well as the superposition of geomagnetic and charge-excess radiation. We present a model for the signal distribution of radio emission from inclined air showers which allows explicit compensation of these asymmetries. In a first step, geometrical early-late asymmetries are removed. Secondly, a universal parameterization of the charge-excess fraction as a function of the air-shower geometry, the atmospheric density profile and the lateral distance from the shower axis is used to compensate for the charge-excess contribution to the signal. The resulting signal distribution of the pure geomagnetic emission is then fit with a rotationally symmetric lateral distribution function, the area integration of which yields the radiation energy as an estimator for the cosmic-ray energy. We present the details and performance of our model, which lays the foundation for robust and precise reconstruction of inclined air showers from radio measurements.