The Scintillator Upgrade of IceTop: Performance of the Prototype Array
2019 July 22
The IceCube Collaboration foresees to upgrade IceTop, the present surface array, with scintillator detectors augmented by radio antennas. As one of several goals the scintillator detectors will be used to measure and mitigate the effects of snow accumulation on the IceTop tanks: the increasing energy threshold and efficiency loss are nowadays the sources of the largest systematic uncertainties in shower reconstruction and mass composition analysis. In addition, the upgrade will provide useful experience for the development of next generation neutrino detectors proposed for the South Pole. In the Austral summer season, 2017-2018 two full stations were installed near the center of the IceTop array. Each station features custom-designed electronics and consists of seven detectors, each having an active area of 1.5m^2 plastic scintillator and wavelength shifting fibers read out by a Silicon Photomultiplier. In this contribution we review the detector design and performance, and show results from more than one year of operation of the prototype stations. During that year several thousand air shower events have been measured in coincidence with IceTop.