Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Mary Hall Reno

First Committee Member

Mary H Reno

Second Committee Member

Vincent G.J. Rodgers

Third Committee Member

Wayne N Polyzou

Fourth Committee Member

Kenneth G Gayley

Fifth Committee Member

Ina Sarcevic

Sixth Committee Member

Tuong Ton-That


I reevaluate the total cross section and energy loss parameter β for lepton pair production from interactions of high energy muons with atomic targets. Using a detailed structure function analysis, this evaluation is valid for both elastic and inelastic scattering and includes the entire range of allowed momentum transfers. The formalism presented here is applied to both e+e- and τ+τ- pair production. This approach to the calculation of the cross section allows for a numerical evaluation of the energy distribution of the differential cross section. Using this numerical evaluation, and parameterizations for the atmospheric muon flux, I calculate the differential flux of high energy electrons and taus produced underground from incident muons, considering both conventional and prompt atmospheric muon fluxes. An approximate form for the differential charged current neutrino cross section is presented and used to calculate the differential flux of electrons and taus produced from incident neutrinos to compare to the production by incident muons. I also calculate the underground flux of photons produced via muon bremsstrahlung and discuss the electromagnetic background from these events. The relevance of high energy lepton production for underground Cherenkov detectors is discussed.


ix, 81 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 78-81).


Copyright 2010 Alexander Palen Bulmahn

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