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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 13, 2022
  2. Abstract We study a possible calibration technique for the nEXO experiment using a 127 Xe electron capture source. nEXO is a next-generation search for neutrinoless double beta decay (0 νββ ) that will use a 5-tonne, monolithic liquid xenon time projection chamber (TPC). The xenon, used both as source and detection medium, will be enriched to 90% in 136 Xe. To optimize the event reconstruction and energy resolution, calibrations are needed to map the position- and time-dependent detector response. The 36.3 day half-life of 127 Xe and its small Q-value compared to that of 136 Xe 0 νββ would allow a small activity to be maintained continuously in the detector during normal operations without introducing additional backgrounds, thereby enabling in-situ calibration and monitoring of the detector response. In this work we describe a process for producing the source and preliminary experimental tests. We then use simulations to project the precision with which such a source could calibrate spatial corrections to the light and charge response of the nEXO TPC.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. 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,more »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