The SNO+ experiment
Journal of Instrumentation IOP Publishing 16:8 (2021) P08059
Abstract:The SNO+ experiment is located 2 km underground at SNOLAB in Sudbury, Canada. A low background search for neutrinoless double beta (0νββ) decay will be conducted using 780 tonnes of liquid scintillator loaded with 3.9 tonnes of natural tellurium, corresponding to 1.3 tonnes of 130Te. This paper provides a general overview of the SNO+ experiment, including detector design, construction of process plants, commissioning efforts, electronics upgrades, data acquisition systems, and calibration techniques. The SNO+ collaboration is reusing the acrylic vessel, PMT array, and electronics of the SNO detector, having made a number of experimental upgrades and essential adaptations for use with the liquid scintillator. With low backgrounds and a low energy threshold, the SNO+ collaboration will also pursue a rich physics program beyond the search for 0νββ decay, including studies of geo- and reactor antineutrinos, supernova and solar neutrinos, and exotic physics such as the search for invisible nucleon decay. The SNO+ approach to the search for 0νββ decay is scalable: a future phase with high 130Te-loading is envisioned to probe an effective Majorana mass in the inverted mass ordering region.
Development, characterisation, and deployment of the SNO+ liquid scintillator
Journal of Instrumentation IOP Publishing 16 (2021) P05009
Abstract:A liquid scintillator consisting of linear alkylbenzene as the solvent and 2,5-diphenyloxazole as the fluor was developed for the SNO+ experiment. This mixture was chosen as it is compatible with acrylic and has a competitive light yield to pre-existing liquid scintillators while conferring other advantages including longer attenuation lengths, superior safety characteristics, chemical simplicity, ease of handling, and logistical availability. Its properties have been extensively characterized and are presented here. This liquid scintillator is now used in several neutrino physics experiments in addition to SNO+.
Pulse-shape discrimination against low-energy Ar-39 beta decays in liquid argon with 4.5 tonne-years of DEAP-3600 data.
The European physical journal. C, Particles and fields 81:9 (2021) 823
Abstract:The DEAP-3600 detector searches for the scintillation signal from dark matter particles scattering on a 3.3 tonne liquid argon target. The largest background comes from 39Ar beta decays and is suppressed using pulse-shape discrimination (PSD). We use two types of PSD estimator: the prompt-fraction, which considers the fraction of the scintillation signal in a narrow and a wide time window around the event peak, and the log-likelihood-ratio, which compares the observed photon arrival times to a signal and a background model. We furthermore use two algorithms to determine the number of photons detected at a given time: (1) simply dividing the charge of each PMT pulse by the mean single-photoelectron charge, and (2) a likelihood analysis that considers the probability to detect a certain number of photons at a given time, based on a model for the scintillation pulse shape and for afterpulsing in the light detectors. The prompt-fraction performs approximately as well as the log-likelihood-ratio PSD algorithm if the photon detection times are not biased by detector effects. We explain this result using a model for the information carried by scintillation photons as a function of the time when they are detected.
Measurement of neutron-proton capture in the SNO+ water phase
Physical Review C American Physical Society 102:1 (2020) 014002
Abstract:The SNO+ experiment collected data as a low-threshold water Cherenkov detector from September 2017 to July 2019. Measurements of the 2.2-MeV γ's produced by neutron capture on hydrogen were made using an Am-Be calibration source, for which a large fraction of emitted neutrons are produced simultaneously with a 4.4-MeV γ. Analysis of the delayed coincidence between the 4.4-MeV γ and the 2.2-MeV capture γ revealed a neutron detection efficiency that is centered around 50% and varies at the level of 1% across the inner region of the detector, which to our knowledge is the highest efficiency achieved among pure water Cherenkov detectors. In addition, the neutron capture time constant was measured and converted to a thermal neutron-proton capture cross section of 336.3+1.2−1.5mb.
Search for dark matter with a 231-day exposure of liquid argon using DEAP-3600 at SNOLAB
PHYSICAL REVIEW D 100:2 (2019) ARTN 022004