Cosmogenic backgrounds to 0νββ in EXO-200

J. B. Albert, D. J. Auty, P. S. Barbeau, D. Beck, V. Belov, M. Breidenbach, T. Brunner, A. Burenkov, G. F. Cao, C. Chambers, B. Cleveland, M. Coon, A. Craycraft, T. Daniels, M. Danilov, S. J. Daugherty, J. Davis, S. Delaquis, A. Der Mesrobian-Kabakian, R. DevoeT. Didberidze, J. Dilling, A. Dolgolenko, M. J. Dolinski, M. Dunford, W. Fairbank, J. Farine, W. Feldmeier, S. Feyzbakhsh, P. Fierlinger, D. Fudenberg, R. Gornea, K. Graham, G. Gratta, C. Hall, S. Herrin, M. Hughes, M. J. Jewell, A. Johnson, T. N. Johnson, S. Johnston, A. Karelin, L. J. Kaufman, R. Killick, T. Koffas, S. Kravitz, R. Krücken, A. Kuchenkov, K. S. Kumar, D. S. Leonard, C. Licciardi, Y. H. Lin, J. Ling, R. Maclellan, M. G. Marino, B. Mong, D. Moore, O. Njoya, R. Nelson, A. Odian, I. Ostrovskiy, A. Piepke, A. Pocar, C. Y. Prescott, F. Retière, P. C. Rowson, J. J. Russell, A. Schubert, D. Sinclair, E. Smith, V. Stekhanov, M. Tarka, T. Tolba, R. Tsang, K. Twelker, J. L. Vuilleumier, A. Waite, J. Walton, T. Walton, M. Weber, L. J. Wen, U. Wichoski, J. Wood, L. Yang, Y. R. Yen, O. Ya Zeldovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

As neutrinoless double-beta decay experiments become more sensitive and intrinsic radioactivity in detector materials is reduced, previously minor contributions to the background must be understood and eliminated. With this in mind, cosmogenic backgrounds have been studied with the EXO-200 experiment. Using the EXO-200 TPC, the muon flux (through a flat horizontal surface) underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has been measured to be Φ = 4.07 ± 0.14 (sys) ± 0.03 (stat) × 10-7 cm-2 s-1, with a vertical intensity of Iv = 2.97+0.14-0.13 (sys) ± 0.02 (stat) × 10-7 cm-2 s-1 sr-1. Simulations of muon-induced backgrounds identified several potential cosmogenic radionuclides, though only 137Xe is a significant background for the 136Xe 0νββ search with EXO-200. Muon-induced neutron backgrounds were measured using γ-rays from neutron capture on the detector materials. This provided a measurement of 137Xe yield, and a test of the accuracy of the neutron production and transport simulations. The independently measured rates of 136Xe neutron capture and of 137Xe decay agree within uncertainties. Geant4 and FLUKA simulations were performed to estimate neutron capture rates, and these estimates agreed to within ∼ 40% or better with measurements. The ability to identify 136Xe(n,γ) events will allow for rejection of 137Xe backgrounds in future 0νββ analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number029
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Volume2016
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2016

Keywords

  • cosmic ray experiments
  • double beta decay
  • neutrino experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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    Albert, J. B., Auty, D. J., Barbeau, P. S., Beck, D., Belov, V., Breidenbach, M., Brunner, T., Burenkov, A., Cao, G. F., Chambers, C., Cleveland, B., Coon, M., Craycraft, A., Daniels, T., Danilov, M., Daugherty, S. J., Davis, J., Delaquis, S., Mesrobian-Kabakian, A. D., ... Zeldovich, O. Y. (2016). Cosmogenic backgrounds to 0νββ in EXO-200. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 2016(4), [029]. https://doi.org/10.1088/1475-7516/2016/04/029