University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab


[Ice Cube 1km hexagon by 2.4km tall]

One of the biggest undertakings in PSL history, the IceCube project is a neutrino observatory at the South Pole. The project called for the design and construction of over 4,000 Digital Optical Modules(DOM) to be placed at depths of up to 2,400 meters below the surface of the ice, which is about 2,500 meters thick. The optical modules are designed and fabricated to survive the incredibly harsh environment in which they are deployed. They must also have nearly perfect reliability to continue operation in this environment for at least 20 years. The holes were drilled with the Enhanced Hot Water Drill. This complex device is the single largest piece of equipment at the South Pole. It must drill the holes in an accurate and rapid manner, while maintaining a high level of reliability and energy efficiency. PSL was the main design, construction, testing, and staging facility for the IceCube project from the start and continued its involvement during deployment. Many PSL employees traveled to the South Pole and assisted during deployment seasons.

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