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  1. Abstract

    Ultra-pure NaI(Tl) crystals are the key element for a model-independent verification of the long standing DAMA result and a powerful means to search for the annual modulation signature of dark matter interactions. The SABRE collaboration has been developing cutting-edge techniques for the reduction of intrinsic backgrounds over several years. In this paper we report the first characterization of a 3.4 kg crystal, named NaI-33, performed in an underground passive shielding setup at LNGS. NaI-33 has a record low$$^{39}$$39K contamination of 4.3 ± 0.2 ppb as determined by mass spectrometry. We measured a light yield of 11.1 ± 0.2 photoelectrons/keV and an energy resolution of 13.2% (FWHM/E) at 59.5 keV. We evaluated the activities of$$^{226}$$226Ra and$$^{228}$$228Th inside the crystal to be$$5.9\pm 0.6~\upmu $$5.9±0.6μBq/kg and$$1.6\pm 0.3~\upmu $$1.6±0.3μBq/kg, respectively, which would indicate a contamination from$$^{238}$$238U and$$^{232}$$232Th at part-per-trillion level. We measured an activity of 0.51 ± 0.02 mBq/kg due to$$^{210}$$210Pb out of equilibrium and a$$\alpha $$αquenching factor of 0.63 ± 0.01 at 5304 keV. We illustrate the analyses techniques developed to reject electronic noise in the lower part of the energy spectrum. A cut-based strategy and a multivariate approach indicated a rate, attributed to the intrinsic radioactivity of the crystal, of$$\sim $$1 count/day/kg/keV in the [5–20] keV region.

  2. The SABRE (Sodium-iodide with Active Background REjection) experiment is a new detector based on NaI(Tl) scintillating crystals for the dark matter detection through the annual modulation. With ultra-pure crystals and an active veto system, based on liquid scintillator surrounding the crystal array, SABRE will reach unprecedented low background and the highest sensitivity among the present NaI(Tl) experiments. Moreover SABRE will be the first dark matter search with twin detectors located in the North and South hemispheres, in Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS), Italy, and Stawell Underground Laboratories (SUPL), Australia, respectively. The double location will help to quantify possible seasonal effects, and is a unique feature to identify a modulation of dark matter origins. SABRE is presently in the Proof-of-Principle (PoP) phase, with the goal to measure the crystal intrinsic and cosmogenic backgrounds of one 5 kg crystal and the active veto efficiency. We have performed a full geometry Monte Carlo simulation in order to evaluate the background contributions in the two distinct operation modes foreseen for the PoP: the potassium Measurement Mode (KMM) and the Dark Matter Measurement Mode (DMM), where the liquid scintillator detector is used in coincidence or anti-coincidence with the crystal, respectively. This paper presents the resultsmore »of a detailed background simulation and the expected sensitivity for the SABRE full scale experiment.« less