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  1. Abstract

    As liquid xenon detectors grow in scale, novel techniques are required to maintain sufficient purity for charges to survive across longer drift paths. The Xeclipse facility at Columbia University was built to test the removal of electronegative impurities through cryogenic filtration powered by a liquid xenon pump, enabling a far higher mass flow rate than gas-phase purification through heated getters. In this paper, we present results from Xeclipse, including measured oxygen removal rates for two sorbent materials, which were used to guide the design and commissioning of the XENONnT liquid purification system. Thanks to this innovation, XENONnT has achieved an electron lifetime greater than$${10}\,\hbox {ms}$$10msin an$$\sim {8.6}{\text {tonne}}$$8.6tonnetotal mass, perhaps the highest purity ever measured liquid xenon detector.

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  2. Abstract

    The selection of low-radioactive construction materials is of utmost importance for the success of low-energy rare event search experiments. Besides radioactive contaminants in the bulk, the emanation of radioactive radon atoms from material surfaces attains increasing relevance in the effort to further reduce the background of such experiments. In this work, we present the$$^{222}$$222Rn emanation measurements performed for the XENON1T dark matter experiment. Together with the bulk impurity screening campaign, the results enabled us to select the radio-purest construction materials, targeting a$$^{222}$$222Rn activity concentration of$$10\,\mathrm{\,}\upmu \mathrm{Bq}/\mathrm{kg}$$10μBq/kgin$$3.2\,\mathrm{t}$$3.2tof xenon. The knowledge of the distribution of the$$^{222}$$222Rn sources allowed us to selectively eliminate problematic components in the course of the experiment. The predictions from the emanation measurements were compared to data of the$$^{222}$$222Rn activity concentration in XENON1T. The final$$^{222}$$222Rn activity concentration of$$(4.5\pm 0.1)\,\mathrm{\,}\upmu \mathrm{Bq}/\mathrm{kg}$$(4.5±0.1)μBq/kgin the target of XENON1T is the lowest ever achieved in a xenon dark matter experiment.

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  3. Abstract The XENON collaboration has published stringent limits on specific dark matter – nucleon recoil spectra from dark matter recoiling on the liquid xenon detector target. In this paper, we present an approximate likelihood for the XENON1T 1 t-year nuclear recoil search applicable to any nuclear recoil spectrum. Alongside this paper, we publish data and code to compute upper limits using the method we present. The approximate likelihood is constructed in bins of reconstructed energy, profiled along the signal expectation in each bin. This approach can be used to compute an approximate likelihood and therefore most statistical results for any nuclear recoil spectrum. Computing approximate results with this method is approximately three orders of magnitude faster than the likelihood used in the original publications of XENON1T, where limits were set for specific families of recoil spectra. Using this same method, we include toy Monte Carlo simulation-derived binwise likelihoods for the upcoming XENONnT experiment that can similarly be used to assess the sensitivity to arbitrary nuclear recoil signatures in its eventual 20 t-year exposure. 
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  4. 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 $$^{222}$$ 222 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. 
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  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 volumes 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. 
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