Katayose, Y (reprint author), Yokohama Natl Univ, Fac Engn, Yokohama, Kanagawa 2408501, Japan.
The observation of the extensive air showers has been carried out since 1990 by Tibet air-shower array to study the origin of the cosmic-rays. In order to investigate the chemical composition around the knee, air-shower core detector was used in two experimental phases aiming to separate light primary elements (proton and helium). In a first phase experiment made in 1996-1999, primary proton and helium spectra were measured using a hybrid detector consisted of Tibet II air-shower array, emulsion chambers, and burst detectors. The result indicated that the fraction of light elements among the all particle spectrum is less than 30%. We performed the second phase experiment in 2002-2005 to measure proton + helium together to confirm the previous result with higher statistics by improving the detection efficiency for the air-shower cores. The P + He spectrum was obtained in a good agreement with previous result by several times higher statistics. The flux of the light elements, together with the all-particle energy spectrum, indicates the dominance of nuclei heavier than helium in the energy range around the knee. We also present the outline of the next phase experiment, which is to measure the heavy elements around the knee, using low threshold air-shower core detector named YAC. (C) 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.