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  1. Abstract This paper describes the design and performance of a compact detector, BDX-MINI, that incorporates all features of a concept that optimized the detection of light dark matter in the MeV-GeV mass range produced by electrons in a beam dump. It represents a reduced version of the future BDX experiment expected to run at JLAB. BDX-MINI was exposed to penetrating particles produced by a 2.176 GeV electron beam incident on the beam dump of Hall A at Jefferson Lab. The detector consists of 30.5 kg of PbWO $$_4$$ 4 crystals with sufficient material following the beam dump to eliminate all known particlesmore »except neutrinos. The crystals are read out using silicon photomultipliers. Completely surrounding the detector are a passive layer of tungsten and two active scintillator veto systems, which are also read out using silicon photomultipliers. The design was validated and the performance of the robust detector was shown to be stable during a six month period during which the detector was operated with minimal access.« less
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