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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  2. Finding unambiguous evidence of dark matter interactions in a particle detector is a main objective of physics research. The liquid argon time projection chamber technique for the detection of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMP) allows sensitivities down to the so-called neutrino floor for high and low WIMP masses. Based on the successful operation of the DarkSide-50 detector, a new and more sensitive experiment, DarkSide-20k, was designed and is now under construction. A thorough understanding of the DarkSide-50 detector response to events classified as dark matter as well as all other interactions is essential for an optimal design of the newmore »experiment. In this paper, we report on a particular set of events, for which scintillation-ionization signals are observed in association with signals from single or few isolated electrons. We identified and provided an interpretation for two event types in which electrons are produced via photoelectric effect on the cathode electrode and in the bulk liquid. Events with photoelectric emissions are observed in association with most interactions with large energy depositions in the detector. From the measured rate of these events, we determine the photo-ionization probability, or photoelectric quantum efficiency, of tetraphenyl butadiene (TPB) at wavelengths around 128 nm.« less
  3. DarkSide-50 has demonstrated the high potential of dual-phase liquid argon time projection chambers in exploring interactions of WIMPs in the GeV/c2 mass range. The technique, based on the detection of the ionization signal amplified via electroluminescence in the gas phase, allows to explore recoil energies down to the sub-keV range. We report here on the DarkSide-50 measurement of the ionization yield of electronic recoils down to about 180 eVer, exploiting 37Ar and 39Ar decays, and extrapolated to a few ionization electrons with the Thomas-Imel box model. Moreover, we present the determination of the ionization response to nuclear recoils down tomore »∼ 500 eVnr , the lowest ever achieved in liquid argon, using in situ neutron calibration sources and external datasets from neutron beam experiments.« less
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  5. Abstract

    Aria is a plant hosting a$${350}\,\hbox {m}$$350mcryogenic isotopic distillation column, the tallest ever built, which is being installed in a mine shaft at Carbosulcis S.p.A., Nuraxi-Figus (SU), Italy. Aria is one of the pillars of the argon dark-matter search experimental program, lead by the Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration. It was designed to reduce the isotopic abundance of$${^{39}\hbox {Ar}}$$39Arin argon extracted from underground sources, called Underground Argon (UAr), which is used for dark-matter searches. Indeed,$${^{39}\hbox {Ar}}$$39Aris a$$\beta $$β-emitter of cosmogenic origin, whose activity poses background and pile-up concerns in the detectors. In this paper, we discuss the requirements, design,more »construction, tests, and projected performance of the plant for the isotopic cryogenic distillation of argon. We also present the successful results of the isotopic cryogenic distillation of nitrogen with a prototype plant.

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    Abstract Proportional electroluminescence (EL) in noble gases is used in two-phase detectors for dark matter searches to record (in the gas phase) the ionization signal induced by particle scattering in the liquid phase. The “standard” EL mechanism is considered to be due to noble gas excimer emission in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV). In addition, there are two alternative mechanisms, producing light in the visible and near infrared (NIR) ranges. The first is due to bremsstrahlung of electrons scattered on neutral atoms (“neutral bremsstrahlung”, NBrS). The second, responsible for electron avalanche scintillation in the NIR at higher electric fields, is duemore »to transitions between excited atomic states. In this work, we have for the first time demonstrated two alternative techniques of the optical readout of two-phase argon detectors, in the visible and NIR range, using a silicon photomultiplier matrix and electroluminescence due to either neutral bremsstrahlung or avalanche scintillation. The amplitude yield and position resolution were measured for these readout techniques, which allowed to assess the detection threshold for electron and nuclear recoils in two-phase argon detectors for dark matter searches. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first practical application of the NBrS effect in detection science.« less