Depleted argon from underground sources

H. O. Back, T. Alexander, A. Alton, C. Galbiati, A. Goretti, C. Kendziora, B. Loer, D. Montanari, P. Mosteiro, S. Pordes, H. Rogers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Argon is a strong scintillator and an ideal target for Dark Matter detection; however 39Ar contamination in atmospheric argon from cosmic ray interactions limits the size of liquid argon dark matter detectors due to pile-up. Argon from deep underground is depleted in 39Ar due to the cosmic ray shielding of the earth. In Cortez, Colorado, a CO2 well has been discovered to contain approximately 600ppm of argon as a contamination in the CO2. We first concentrate the argon locally to 3% in an Ar, N2, and He mixture, from the CO2 through chromatographic gas separation, and then the N2 and He will be removed by continuous distillation to purify the argon. We have collected 26 kg of argon from the CO2 facility and a cryogenic distillation column is under construction at Fermilab to further purify the argon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTopical Workshop on Low Radioactivity Techniques, LRT 2010
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2011
EventTopical Workshop on Low Radioactivity Techniques, LRT 2010 - Sudbury, ON, Canada
Duration: Aug 28 2010Aug 29 2010

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


OtherTopical Workshop on Low Radioactivity Techniques, LRT 2010
CitySudbury, ON

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Argon
  • Cryogenic
  • Dark matter
  • Distillation
  • Scintillator
  • Time projection chamber


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