Precision Measurement of Cosmic-Ray Nitrogen and its Primary and Secondary Components with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station

Creative Commons License

Aguilar M., Cavasonza L. A. , Alpat B., Ambrosi G., Arruda L., Attig N., ...More

PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, vol.121, no.5, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 121 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1103/physrevlett.121.051103
  • Title of Journal : PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS


A precision measurement of the nitrogen flux with rigidity (momentum per unit charge) from 2.2 GV to 3.3 TV based on 2.2 x 10(6) events is presented. The detailed rigidity dependence of the nitrogen flux spectral index is presented for the first time. The spectral index rapidly hardens at high rigidities and becomes identical to the spectral indices of primary He, C, and O cosmic rays above similar to 700 GV. We observed that the nitrogen flux Phi(N) can be presented as the sum of its primary component Phi(P)(N) and secondary component Phi(S)(N), Phi(N) = Phi(P)(N) + Phi(S)(N), and we found Phi(N) is well described by the weighted sum of the oxygen flux Phi(O) (primary cosmic rays) and the boron flux Phi(B) (secondary cosmic rays), with Phi(P)(N) = (0.090 +/- 0.002) x Phi(O) and Phi(S)(N) = (0.62 +/- 0.02) x Phi(B) over the entire rigidity range. This corresponds to a change of the contribution of the secondary cosmic ray component in the nitrogen flux from 70% at a few GV to < 30% above 1 TV.