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  1. Abstract

    The futureRicochetexperiment aims at searching for new physics in the electroweak sector by providing a high precision measurement of the Coherent Elastic Neutrino-Nucleus Scattering (CENNS) process down to the sub-100 eV nuclear recoil energy range. The experiment will deploy a kg-scale low-energy-threshold detector array combining Ge and Zn target crystals 8.8 m away from the 58 MW research nuclear reactor core of the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France. Currently, theRicochetCollaboration is characterizing the backgrounds at its future experimental site in order to optimize the experiment’s shielding design. The most threatening background component, which cannot be actively rejected by particle identification, consists of keV-scale neutron-induced nuclear recoils. These initial fast neutrons are generated by the reactor core and surrounding experiments (reactogenics), and by the cosmic rays producing primary neutrons and muon-induced neutrons in the surrounding materials. In this paper, we present theRicochetneutron background characterization using$$^3$$3He proportional counters which exhibit a high sensitivity to thermal, epithermal and fast neutrons. We compare these measurements to theRicochetGeant4 simulations to validate our reactogenic and cosmogenic neutron background estimations. Eventually, we present our estimated neutron background for the futureRicochetexperiment and the resulting CENNS detection significance. Our results show that depending on the effectiveness ofmore »the muon veto, we expect a total nuclear recoil background rate between 44 ± 3 and 9 ± 2 events/day/kg in the CENNS region of interest, i.e. between 50 eV and 1 keV. We therefore found that theRicochetexperiment should reach a statistical significance of 4.6 to 13.6 $$\sigma $$σfor the detection of CENNS after one reactor cycle, when only the limiting neutron background is considered.

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  2. Many low-threshold experiments observe sharply rising event rates of yet unknown origins below a few hundred eV, and larger than expected from known backgrounds. Due to the significant impact of this excess on the dark matter or neutrino sensitivity of these experiments, a collective effort has been started to share the knowledge about the individual observations. For this, the EXCESS Workshop was initiated. In its first iteration in June 2021, ten rare event search collaborations contributed to this initiative via talks and discussions. The contributing collaborations were CONNIE, CRESST, DAMIC, EDELWEISS, MINER, NEWS-G, NUCLEUS, RICOCHET, SENSEI and SuperCDMS. They presented data about their observed energy spectra and known backgrounds together with details about the respective measurements. In this paper, we summarize the presented information and give a comprehensive overview of the similarities and differences between the distinct measurements. The provided data is furthermore publicly available on the workshop's data repository together with a plotting tool for visualization.