Discovery of underground argon with a low level of radioactive 39Ar and possible applications to WIMP dark matter detectors

C. Galbiati, D. Acosta-Kane, R. Acciarri, O. Amaize, M. Antonello, B. Baibussinov, M. B. Ceolin, C. J. Ballentine, R. Bansal, L. Basgall, A. Bazarko, P. Benetti, J. Benziger, A. Burgers, F. Calaprice, E. Calligarich, M. Cambiaghi, N. Canci, F. Carbonara, M. CassidyF. Cavanna, S. Centro, A. Chavarria, D. Cheng, A. G. Cocco, P. Collon, F. Dalnoki-Veress, E. De Haas, F. Di Pompeo, G. Fiorillo, F. Fitch, V. Gallo, M. Gaull, S. Gazzana, L. Grandi, A. Goretti, R. Highfill, T. Highfill, T. Hohman, A. Ianni, A. Lacava, M. Laubenstein, H. Y. Lee, M. Leung, B. Loer, H. H. Loosli, B. Lyons, D. Marks, K. McCarty, G. Meng, C. Montanari, S. Mukhopadhyay, A. Nelson, O. Palamara, L. Pandola, F. Pietropaolo, T. Pivonka, A. Pocar, R. Purtschert, A. Rappoldi, G. Raselli, F. Resnati, D. Robertson, M. Roncadelli, M. Rossella, C. Rubbia, J. Ruderman, R. Saldanha, C. Schmitt, R. Scott, E. Segreto, A. Shirley, A. M. Szelc, R. Tartaglia, T. Tesileanu, S. Ventura, C. Vignoli, C. Visnjic, R. Vondrasek, A. Yushkov

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We report on the first measurement of 39Ar in argon from underground natural gas reservoirs. The gas stored in the US National Helium Reserve was found to contain a low level of 39Ar. The ratio of 39Ar to stable argon was found to be ≤4×10-17 (84% C.L.), less than 5% the value in atmospheric argon (39Ar/Ar=8×10-16). The total quantity of argon currently stored in the National Helium Reserve is estimated at 1000 tons. 39Ar represents one of the most important backgrounds in argon detectors for WIMP dark matter searches. The findings reported demonstrate the possibility of constructing large multi-ton argon detectors with low radioactivity suitable for WIMP dark matter searches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042015
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue numberPart 4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Event10th International Conference on Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics, TAUP 2007 - Sendai , Japan
Duration: Sep 11 2007Sep 15 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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