Borexino is an experiment for low-energy neutrino spectroscopy at the Gran Sasso underground laboratories. It is designed to measure the monoenergetic Be7 solar neutrino flux in real time, via neutrino-electron elastic scattering in an ultrapure organic liquid scintillator. Borexino has the potential to also detect neutrinos from the pep fusion process and the CNO cycle. For this measurement to be possible, radioactive contamination in the detector must be kept extremely low. Once sufficiently clean conditions are met, the main background source is C11, produced in reactions induced by the residual cosmic muon flux on C12. In the process, a free neutron is almost always produced. C11 can be tagged on an event-by-event basis by looking at the threefold coincidence with the parent muon track and the subsequent neutron capture on protons. This coincidence method has been implemented on the Borexino Counting Test Facility data. We report on the first event-by-event identification of in situ muon-induced C11 in a large underground scintillator detector. We measure a C11 production rate of 0.130 ± 0.026(stat) ± 0.014(syst) day-1 ton-1, in agreement with predictions from both experimental studies performed with a muon beam on a scintillator target and ab initio estimations based on the C11 producing nuclear reactions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics