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  1. Abstract A double-phase argon Time Projection Chamber (TPC), with an active mass of 185 g, has been designed and constructed for the Recoil Directionality (ReD) experiment. The aim of the ReD project is to investigate the directional sensitivity of argon-based TPCs via columnar recombination to nuclear recoils in the energy range of interest (20– $$200\,\hbox {keV}_{nr}$$ 200 keV nr ) for direct dark matter searches. The key novel feature of the ReD TPC is a readout system based on cryogenic Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs), which are employed and operated continuously for the first time in an argon TPC. Over the course ofmore »6 months, the ReD TPC was commissioned and characterised under various operating conditions using $$\gamma $$ γ -ray and neutron sources, demonstrating remarkable stability of the optical sensors and reproducibility of the results. The scintillation gain and ionisation amplification of the TPC were measured to be $$g_1 = (0.194 \pm 0.013)$$ g 1 = ( 0.194 ± 0.013 ) photoelectrons/photon and $$g_2 = (20.0 \pm 0.9)$$ g 2 = ( 20.0 ± 0.9 ) photoelectrons/electron, respectively. The ratio of the ionisation to scintillation signals (S2/S1), instrumental for the positive identification of a candidate directional signal induced by WIMPs, has been investigated for both nuclear and electron recoils. At a drift field of 183 V/cm, an S2/S1 dispersion of 12% was measured for nuclear recoils of approximately 60– $$90\,\hbox {keV}_{nr}$$ 90 keV nr , as compared to 18% for electron recoils depositing 60 keV of energy. The detector performance reported here meets the requirements needed to achieve the principal scientific goals of the ReD experiment in the search for a directional effect due to columnar recombination. A phenomenological parameterisation of the recombination probability in LAr is presented and employed for modeling the dependence of scintillation quenching and charge yield on the drift field for electron recoils between 50–500 keV and fields up to 1000 V/cm.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  2. null (Ed.)
  3. 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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  4. null (Ed.)
    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