Since 2003, significant efforts have been devoted to the understanding of the radio emission of extensive air showers above 20 MHz. Despite some studies led until the early nineties, the band available below 20 MHz has remained unused for 20 years.
Example of a coincidence recorded in the autonomous stations (colored circles), the scintillator arrays (circles in the black square) and in some of the low frequency antennas (green stars). The black arrow and the pink square marker give indications on the arrival direction and the core location of the shower. The light green segments give the polarization of the signal detected in the stations.
However, it has been claimed by some pioneering experiments that extensive air showers emit a strong electric field in this band and that there is evidence of a large increase of the radio pulse amplitude with decreasing frequencies. The EXTASIS experiment, located within the Nançay Radioastronomy Observatory and supported by the scintillator array and the autonomous radio stations of the CODALEMA experiment, aims to re-investigate the low-frequency band, and especially to study the so-called ”sudden death” contribution, the expected electric field radiated by the shower front when hitting ground level. In this work, we present the instrumental setup of the EXTASIS experiment composed of 7 low-frequency antennas operating in [1.7–3.7] MHz and covering approximately 1 km2. We report the observation of 18 air showers detected in coincidence in the three instruments, and estimate a detection threshold of 23 ± 4 µV from comparisons with detailed SELFAS3 simulations. We also report a strong correlation of the low-frequency signal observation with the atmospheric electric field.
Published by D.Charrier, R.Dallier, A.Escudie, D. García-Fernández, A.Lecacheux, L.Martin and B.Revenu in Astroparticle Physics Volume 113, December 2019, Pages 6-21.