A study of events with photoelectric emission in the DarkSide-50 liquid argon Time Projection Chamber

P. Agnes, I. F.M. Albuquerque, T. Alexander, A. K. Alton, M. Ave, H. O. Back, G. Batignani, K. Biery, V. Bocci, W. M. Bonivento, B. Bottino, S. Bussino, M. Cadeddu, M. Cadoni, F. Calaprice, A. Caminata, N. Canci, M. Caravati, N. Cargioli, M. CarielloM. Carlini, M. Carpinelli, S. Catalanotti, V. Cataudella, P. Cavalcante, S. Cavuoti, A. Chepurnov, C. Cicalò, A. G. Cocco, G. Covone, D. D'Angelo, S. Davini, A. De Candia, S. De Cecco, G. De Filippis, G. De Rosa, A. V. Derbin, A. Devoto, M. D'Incecco, C. Dionisi, F. Dordei, M. Downing, D. D'Urso, G. Fiorillo, D. Franco, F. Gabriele, C. Galbiati, C. Ghiano, C. Giganti, G. K. Giovanetti, O. Gorchakov, A. M. Goretti, A. Grobov, M. Gromov, M. Guan, Y. Guardincerri, M. Gulino, B. R. Hackett, K. Herner, B. Hosseini, F. Hubaut, E. V. Hungerford, An Ianni, V. Ippolito, K. Keeter, C. L. Kendziora, I. Kochanek, D. Korablev, G. Korga, A. Kubankin, M. Kuss, M. La Commara, M. Lai, X. Li, M. Lissia, G. Longo, I. N. Machulin, L. P. Mapelli, S. M. Mari, J. Maricic, C. J. Martoff, A. Messina, P. D. Meyers, R. Milincic, M. Morrocchi, V. N. Muratova, P. Musico, A. Navrer Agasson, A. O. Nozdrina, A. Oleinik, F. Ortica, L. Pagani, M. Pallavicini, L. Pandola, E. Pantic, E. Paoloni, K. Pelczar, N. Pelliccia, E. Picciau, A. Pocar, S. Pordes, S. S. Poudel, P. Pralavorio, F. Ragusa, M. Razeti, A. Razeto, A. L. Renshaw, M. Rescigno, J. Rode, A. Romani, D. Sablone, O. Samoylov, W. Sands, S. Sanfilippo, C. Savarese, B. Schlitzer, D. A. Semenov, A. Shchagin, A. Sheshukov, M. D. Skorokhvatov, O. Smirnov, A. Sotnikov, S. Stracka, Y. Suvorov, R. Tartaglia, G. Testera, A. Tonazzo, E. V. Unzhakov, A. Vishneva, R. B. Vogelaar, M. Wada, H. Wang, Y. Wang, S. Westerdale, Ma M. Wojcik, X. Xiao, C. Yang, G. Zuzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Finding unequivocal evidence of dark matter interactions in a particle detector is a major goal of research in physics. Liquid argon time projection chambers offer a path to probe Weakly Interacting Massive Particles scattering cross sections on nuclei down to the so-called neutrino floor, in a mass range from a few GeV to hundreds of TeV. Based on the successful operation of the DarkSide-50 detector at LNGS, a new and more sensitive experiment, DarkSide-20k, has been designed and is now under construction. A thorough understanding of the DarkSide-50 detector response and, therefore, of all types of events observed in the detector, is essential for the optimal design of the new experiment. In this article, we report on a specific set of events, namely, standard two-pulse scintillation–ionization signals with a third small amplitude pulse, occurring within the 440μs data acquisition window of standard events. Some of these events are due to the photoionization of the TPC cathode. We compare our results with those published by collaborations using liquid xenon time projection chambers, which observed a similar phenomenon, and, in particular, with a recent paper by the LUX Collaboration (D.S. Akerib et al. Phys.Rev.D 102, 092004 (2020)) From the measured rate of these events, we estimate for the first time the quantum efficiency of the tetraphenyl butadiene deposited on the DarkSide-50 cathode at wavelengths of around 128 nm, in liquid argon. Also, both experiments observe events likely related to the photoionization of impurities in the liquid. The probability of photoelectron emission per unit length turns out to be an order of magnitude lower in DarkSide-50 than in LUX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102704
JournalAstroparticle Physics
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


  • Dark matter
  • Liquid argon
  • Underground argon


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