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  1. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive study of the nonproportionality of NaI(Tl) scintillation detectors within the context of dark matter search experiments. Our investigation, which integrates COSINE-100 data with supplementary$$\gamma $$γspectroscopy, measures light yields across diverse energy levels from full-energy$$\gamma $$γpeaks produced by the decays of various isotopes. These$$\gamma $$γpeaks of interest were produced by decays supported by both long and short-lived isotopes. Analyzing peaks from decays supported only by short-lived isotopes presented a unique challenge due to their limited statistics and overlapping energies, which was overcome by long-term data collection and a time-dependent analysis. A key achievement is the direct measurement of the 0.87 keV light yield, resulting from the cascade following electron capture decay of$$\mathrm {^{22}Na}$$22Nafrom internal contamination. This measurement, previously accessible only indirectly, deepens our understanding of NaI(Tl) scintillator behavior in the region of interest for dark matter searches. This study holds substantial implications for background modeling and the interpretation of dark matter signals in NaI(Tl) experiments.

     
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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  3. Abstract We present a background model for dark matter searches using an array of NaI(Tl) crystals in the COSINE-100 experiment that is located in the Yangyang underground laboratory. The model includes background contributions from both internal and external sources, including cosmogenic radionuclides and surface $$^{210}$$ 210 Pb contamination. To build the model in the low energy region, with a threshold of 1 keV, we used a depth profile of $$^{210}$$ 210 Pb contamination in the surface of the NaI(Tl) crystals determined in a comparison between measured and simulated spectra. We also considered the effect of the energy scale errors propagated from the statistical uncertainties and the nonlinear detector response at low energies. The 1.7 years COSINE-100 data taken between October 21, 2016 and July 18, 2018 were used for this analysis. Our Monte Carlo simulation provides a non-Gaussian peak around 50 keV originating from beta decays of bulk $$^{210}$$ 210 Pb in a good agreement with the measured background. This model estimates that the activities of bulk $$^{210}$$ 210 Pb and $$^{3}$$ 3 H are dominating the background rate that amounts to an average level of $$2.85\pm 0.15$$ 2.85 ± 0.15  counts/day/keV/kg in the energy region of (1–6) keV, using COSINE-100 data with a total exposure of 97.7 kg $$\cdot $$ · years. 
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  4. Abstract

    We report the identification of metastable isomeric states of$$^{228}$$228Ac at 6.28 keV, 6.67 keV and 20.19 keV, with lifetimes of an order of 100 ns. These states are produced by the$$\beta $$β-decay of$$^{228}$$228Ra, a component of the$$^{232}$$232Th decay chain, with$$\beta $$βQ-values of 39.52 keV, 39.13 keV and 25.61 keV, respectively. Due to the low Q-value of$$^{228}$$228Ra as well as the relative abundance of$$^{232}$$232Th and their progeny in low background experiments, these observations potentially impact the low-energy background modeling of dark matter search experiments.

     
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  5. Abstract Liquid xenon time projection chambers are promising detectors to search for neutrinoless double beta decay (0 $$\nu \beta \beta $$ ν β β ), due to their response uniformity, monolithic sensitive volume, scalability to large target masses, and suitability for extremely low background operations. The nEXO collaboration has designed a tonne-scale time projection chamber that aims to search for 0 $$\nu \beta \beta $$ ν β β of $$^{136}$$ 136 Xe with projected half-life sensitivity of $$1.35\times 10^{28}$$ 1.35 × 10 28  yr. To reach this sensitivity, the design goal for nEXO is $$\le $$ ≤ 1% energy resolution at the decay Q -value ( $$2458.07\pm 0.31$$ 2458.07 ± 0.31  keV). Reaching this resolution requires the efficient collection of both the ionization and scintillation produced in the detector. The nEXO design employs Silicon Photo-Multipliers (SiPMs) to detect the vacuum ultra-violet, 175 nm scintillation light of liquid xenon. This paper reports on the characterization of the newest vacuum ultra-violet sensitive Fondazione Bruno Kessler VUVHD3 SiPMs specifically designed for nEXO, as well as new measurements on new test samples of previously characterised Hamamatsu VUV4 Multi Pixel Photon Counters (MPPCs). Various SiPM and MPPC parameters, such as dark noise, gain, direct crosstalk, correlated avalanches and photon detection efficiency were measured as a function of the applied over voltage and wavelength at liquid xenon temperature (163 K). The results from this study are used to provide updated estimates of the achievable energy resolution at the decay Q -value for the nEXO design. 
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  6. 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. 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. 
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