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  1. Abstract The selection of low-radioactive construction materials is of the utmost importance for rare-event searches and thus critical to the XENONnT experiment. Results of an extensive radioassay program are reported, in which material samples have been screened with gamma-ray spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and $$^{222}$$ 222 Rn emanation measurements. Furthermore, the cleanliness procedures applied to remove or mitigate surface contamination of detector materials are described. Screening results, used as inputs for a XENONnT Monte Carlo simulation, predict a reduction of materials background ( $$\sim $$ ∼ 17%) with respect to its predecessor XENON1T. Through radon emanation measurements, the expected $$^{222}$$ 222more »Rn activity concentration in XENONnT is determined to be 4.2 ( $$^{+0.5}_{-0.7}$$ - 0.7 + 0.5 )  $$\upmu $$ μ Bq/kg, a factor three lower with respect to XENON1T. This radon concentration will be further suppressed by means of the novel radon distillation system.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT Large-amplitude Sgr A* near-infrared (NIR) flares result from energy injection into electrons near the black hole event horizon. Astrometry data show continuous rotation of the emission region during bright flares, and corresponding rotation of the linear polarization angle. One broad class of physical flare models invokes magnetic reconnection. Here, we show that such a scenario can arise in a general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a magnetically arrested disc. Saturation of magnetic flux triggers eruption events, where magnetically dominated plasma is expelled from near the horizon and forms a rotating, spiral structure. Dissipation occurs via reconnection at the interface ofmore »the magnetically dominated plasma and surrounding fluid. This dissipation is associated with large increases in NIR emission in models of Sgr A*, with durations and amplitudes consistent with the observed flares. Such events occur at roughly the time-scale to re-accumulate the magnetic flux from the inner accretion disc, ≃10 h for Sgr A*. We study NIR observables from one sample event to show that the emission morphology tracks the boundary of the magnetically dominated region. As the region rotates around the black hole, the NIR centroid and linear polarization angle both undergo continuous rotation, similar to the behaviour seen in Sgr A* flares.« less
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  5. Abstract A novel online distillation technique was developed for the XENON1T dark matter experiment to reduce intrinsic background components more volatile than xenon, such as krypton or argon, while the detector was operating. The method is based on a continuous purification of the gaseous volume of the detector system using the XENON1T cryogenic distillation column. A krypton-in-xenon concentration of (360±60)ppq was achieved. It is the lowest concentration measured in the fiducial volume of an operating dark matter detector to date. A model was developed and fit to the data to describe the krypton evolution in the liquid and gas volumesmore »of the detector system for several operation modes over the time span of 550 days, including the commissioning and science runs of XENON1T. The online distillation was also successfully applied to remove 37Ar after its injection for a low energy calibration in XENON1T. This makes the usage of 37Ar as a regular calibration source possible in the future. The online distillation can be applied to next-generation LXe TPC experiments to remove krypton prior to, or during, any science run. The model developed here allows further optimization of the distillation strategy for future large scale detectors.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 29, 2023
  6. Using VLTI/GRAVITY and SINFONI data, we investigate the subparsec gas and dust structure around the nearby type 1 active galactic nucleus (AGN) hosted by NGC 3783. The K -band coverage of GRAVITY uniquely allows simultaneous analysis of the size and kinematics of the broad line region (BLR), the size and structure of the near-infrared(near-IR)-continuum-emitting hot dust, and the size of the coronal line region (CLR). We find the BLR, probed through broad Br γ emission, to be well described by a rotating, thick disc with a radial distribution of clouds peaking in the inner region. In our BLR model, themore »physical mean radius of 16 light-days is nearly twice the ten-day time-lag that would be measured, which closely matches the ten-day time-lag that has been measured by reverberation mapping. We measure a hot dust full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) size of 0.74 mas (0.14 pc) and further reconstruct an image of the hot dust, which reveals a faint (5% of the total flux) offset cloud that we interpret as an accreting or outflowing cloud heated by the central AGN. Finally, we directly measure the FWHM size of the nuclear CLR as traced by the [Ca  VIII ] and narrow Br γ line. We find a FWHM size of 2.2 mas (0.4 pc), fully in line with the expectation of the CLR located between the BLR and narrow line region. Combining all of these measurements together with larger scale near-IR integral field unit and mid-IR interferometry data, we are able to comprehensively map the structure and dynamics of gas and dust from 0.01 to 100 pc.« less
  7. We present new near-infrared VLTI/GRAVITY interferometric spectra that spatially resolve the broad Br γ emission line in the nucleus of the active galaxy IRAS 09149−6206. We use these data to measure the size of the broad line region (BLR) and estimate the mass of the central black hole. Using an improved phase calibration method that reduces the differential phase uncertainty to 0.05° per baseline across the spectrum, we detect a differential phase signal that reaches a maximum of ∼0.5° between the line and continuum. This represents an offset of ∼120  μ as (0.14 pc) between the BLR and the centroidmore »of the hot dust distribution traced by the 2.3 μ m continuum. The offset is well within the dust sublimation region, which matches the measured ∼0.6 mas (0.7 pc) diameter of the continuum. A clear velocity gradient, almost perpendicular to the offset, is traced by the reconstructed photocentres of the spectral channels of the Br γ line. We infer the radius of the BLR to be ∼65  μ as (0.075 pc), which is consistent with the radius–luminosity relation of nearby active galactic nuclei derived based on the time lag of the H β line from reverberation mapping campaigns. Our dynamical modelling indicates the black hole mass is ∼1 × 10 8   M ⊙ , which is a little below, but consistent with, the standard M BH – σ * relation.« less
  8. We present near-infrared interferometric data on the Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068, obtained with the GRAVITY instrument on the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer. The extensive baseline coverage from 5 to 60 M λ allowed us to reconstruct a continuum image of the nucleus with an unrivaled 0.2 pc resolution in the K -band. We find a thin ring-like structure of emission with a radius r  = 0.24 ± 0.03 pc, inclination i  = 70 ± 5°, position angle PA = −50 ± 4°, and h / r  <  0.14, which we associate with the dust sublimation region. The observed morphology is inconsistent with the expected signatures ofmore »a geometrically and optically thick torus. Instead, the infrared emission shows a striking resemblance to the 22 GHz maser disc, which suggests they share a common region of origin. The near-infrared spectral energy distribution indicates a bolometric luminosity of (0.4–4.7) × 10 45 erg s −1 , behind a large A K  ≈ 5.5 ( A V  ≈ 90) screen of extinction that also appears to contribute significantly to obscuring the broad line region.« less
  9. We use VLTI/GRAVITY near-infrared interferometry measurements of eight bright type 1 AGN to study the size and structure of hot dust that is heated by the central engine. We partially resolve each source, and report Gaussian full width at half-maximum sizes in the range 0.3−0.8 mas. In all but one object, we find no evidence for significant elongation or asymmetry (closure phases ≲1°). The narrow range of measured angular sizes is expected given the similar optical flux of our targets, and implies an increasing effective physical radius with bolometric luminosity, as found from previous reverberation and interferometry measurements. The measuredmore »sizes for Seyfert galaxies are systematically larger than for the two quasars in our sample when measured relative to the previously reported R  ∼  L 1/2 relationship, which is explained by emission at the sublimation radius. This could be evidence of an evolving near-infrared emission region structure as a function of central luminosity.« less