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  1. Abstract The nEXO neutrinoless double beta (0 νββ ) decay experiment is designed to use a time projection chamber and 5000 kg of isotopically enriched liquid xenon to search for the decay in 136 Xe. Progress in the detector design, paired with higher fidelity in its simulation and an advanced data analysis, based on the one used for the final results of EXO-200, produce a sensitivity prediction that exceeds the half-life of 10 28 years. Specifically, improvements have been made in the understanding of production of scintillation photons and charge as well as of their transport and reconstruction in the detector.more »The more detailed knowledge of the detector construction has been paired with more assays for trace radioactivity in different materials. In particular, the use of custom electroformed copper is now incorporated in the design, leading to a substantial reduction in backgrounds from the intrinsic radioactivity of detector materials. Furthermore, a number of assumptions from previous sensitivity projections have gained further support from interim work validating the nEXO experiment concept. Together these improvements and updates suggest that the nEXO experiment will reach a half-life sensitivity of 1.35 × 10 28 yr at 90% confidence level in 10 years of data taking, covering the parameter space associated with the inverted neutrino mass ordering, along with a significant portion of the parameter space for the normal ordering scenario, for almost all nuclear matrix elements. The effects of backgrounds deviating from the nominal values used for the projections are also illustrated, concluding that the nEXO design is robust against a number of imperfections of the model.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 3, 2022
  2. Abstract Adopting the Standard Halo Model (SHM) of an isotropic Maxwellian velocity distribution for dark matter (DM) particles in the Galaxy, the most stringent current constraints on their spin-dependent scattering cross-section with nucleons come from the IceCube neutrino observatory and the PICO-60 $$\hbox {C}_3\hbox {F}_8$$ C 3 F 8 superheated bubble chamber experiments. The former is sensitive to high energy neutrinos from the self-annihilation of DM particles captured in the Sun, while the latter looks for nuclear recoil events from DM scattering off nucleons. Although slower DM particles are more likely to be captured by the Sun, the faster onesmore »are more likely to be detected by PICO. Recent N-body simulations suggest significant deviations from the SHM for the smooth halo component of the DM, while observations hint at a dominant fraction of the local DM being in substructures. We use the method of Ferrer et al. (JCAP 1509: 052, 2015) to exploit the complementarity between the two approaches and derive conservative constraints on DM-nucleon scattering. Our results constrain $$\sigma _{\mathrm{SD}} \lesssim 3 \times 10^{-39} \mathrm {cm}^2$$ σ SD ≲ 3 × 10 - 39 cm 2 ( $$6 \times 10^{-38} \mathrm {cm}^2$$ 6 × 10 - 38 cm 2 ) at $$\gtrsim 90\%$$ ≳ 90 % C.L. for a DM particle of mass 1 TeV annihilating into $$\tau ^+ \tau ^-$$ τ + τ - ( $$b\bar{b}$$ b b ¯ ) with a local density of $$\rho _{\mathrm{DM}} = 0.3~\mathrm {GeV/cm}^3$$ ρ DM = 0.3 GeV / cm 3 . The constraints scale inversely with $$\rho _{\mathrm{DM}}$$ ρ DM and are independent of the DM velocity distribution.« less