Observation of the dependence on drift field of scintillation from nuclear recoils in liquid argon

T. Alexander, H. O. Back, H. Cao, A. G. Cocco, F. Dejongh, G. Fiorillo, C. Galbiati, L. Grandi, C. Kendziora, W. H. Lippincott, B. Loer, C. Love, L. Manenti, C. J. Martoff, Y. Meng, D. Montanari, P. Mosteiro, D. Olvitt, S. Pordes, H. QianB. Rossi, R. Saldanha, W. Tan, J. Tatarowicz, S. Walker, H. Wang, A. W. Watson, S. Westerdale, J. Yoo

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Abstract

We have exposed 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, to study the scintillation light yield of recoiling nuclei. Liquid scintillation counters were arranged to detect and identify neutrons scattered in the LAr-TPC and to select the energy of the recoiling nuclei. We report the observation of a significant dependence (up to 32%) on the drift field of liquid argon scintillation from nuclear recoils of energies between 10.8 and 49.9 keV. The field dependence is stronger at lower energies. Since it is the first measurement of such an effect in liquid argon, this observation is important because, to date, estimates of the sensitivity of LAr-TPC dark matter searches are based on the assumption that the electric field has only a small effect on the light yield from nuclear recoils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number092006
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Volume88
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 26 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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    Alexander, T., Back, H. O., Cao, H., Cocco, A. G., Dejongh, F., Fiorillo, G., Galbiati, C., Grandi, L., Kendziora, C., Lippincott, W. H., Loer, B., Love, C., Manenti, L., Martoff, C. J., Meng, Y., Montanari, D., Mosteiro, P., Olvitt, D., Pordes, S., ... Yoo, J. (2013). Observation of the dependence on drift field of scintillation from nuclear recoils in liquid argon. Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology, 88(9), [092006]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.88.092006