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Title: Characterization of Nuclear Recoils in High Pressure Xenon Gas: Towards a Simultaneous Search for WIMP Dark Matter and Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay

Xenon has recently been the medium of choice in several large scale detectors searching for WIMP dark matter and neutrinoless double beta decay. Though present-day large scale experiments use liquid xenon, the gas phase offers advantages favorable to both types of searches such as improved intrinsic energy resolution and fewer fluctuations in the partition of deposited energy between scintillation and ionization channels. We recently constructed a high pressure xenon gas TPC as a prototype for the NEXT (Neutrino Experiment with a Xenon TPC) neutrinoless double beta decay experiment and have demonstrated the feasibility of 0.5% FWHM energy resolution at the 136Xe double beta Q-value with 3-D tracking capabilities. We now present results from this prototype on the simultaneous observation of scintillation and ionization produced by nuclear recoils at approximately 14 bar pressure. The recoils were produced by neutrons of approximately 2-6 MeV emitted from a radioisotope plutonium-beryllium source, and primary scintillation (S1) and electroluminescent photons produced by ionization (S2) were observed. We discuss the potential of gaseous xenon to distinguish between electron and nuclear recoils through the ratio of these two signals S2/S1. From these results combined with the possibility of using columnar recombination to sense nuclear recoil directionality atmore » high pressures we envision a dual-purpose, ton-scale gaseous xenon detector capable of a combined search for WIMP dark matter and neutrinoless double beta decay. This work has been performed within the context of the NEXT collaboration.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; FC52-08NA28752
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics Procedia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 61; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1875-3892
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Contributing Orgs:
NEXT Collaboration
Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS dark matter, high pressure xenon gas, WIMP, neutrinoless double beta decay, nuclear recoils