Measurement of scintillation and ionization yield and scintillation pulse shape from nuclear recoils in liquid argon

H. Cao, T. Alexander, A. Aprahamian, R. Avetisyan, H. O. Back, A. G. Cocco, F. DeJongh, G. Fiorillo, C. Galbiati, L. Grandi, Y. Guardincerri, C. Kendziora, W. H. Lippincott, C. Love, S. Lyons, L. Manenti, C. J. Martoff, Y. Meng, D. Montanari, P. MosteiroD. Olvitt, S. Pordes, H. Qian, B. Rossi, R. Saldanha, S. Sangiorgio, K. Siegl, S. Y. Strauss, W. Tan, J. Tatarowicz, S. Walker, H. Wang, A. W. Watson, S. Westerdale, J. Yoo

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We have measured the scintillation and ionization yield of recoiling nuclei in liquid argon as a function of applied electric field by exposing a dual-phase liquid argon time projection chamber (LAr-TPC) to a low energy pulsed narrow band neutron beam produced at the Notre Dame Institute for Structure and Nuclear Astrophysics. Liquid scintillation counters were arranged to detect and identify neutrons scattered in the TPC and to select the energy of the recoiling nuclei. We report measurements of the scintillation yields for nuclear recoils with energies from 10.3 to 57.3Â keV and for median applied electric fields from 0 to 970 V/cm. For the ionization yields, we report measurements from 16.9 to 57.3 keV and for electric fields from 96.4 to 486 V/cm. We also report the observation of an anticorrelation between scintillation and ionization from nuclear recoils, which is similar to the anticorrelation between scintillation and ionization from electron recoils. Assuming that the energy loss partitions into excitons and ion pairs from Kr83m internal conversion electrons is comparable to that from Bi207 conversion electrons, we obtained the numbers of excitons (Nex) and ion pairs (Ni) and their ratio (Nex/Ni) produced by nuclear recoils from 16.9 to 57.3 keV. Motivated by arguments suggesting direction sensitivity in LAr-TPC signals due to columnar recombination, a comparison of the light and charge yield of recoils parallel and perpendicular to the applied electric field is presented for the first time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number092007
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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