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Title: First demonstration of a scintillating xenon bubble chamber for detecting dark matter and coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering

A 30-g xenon bubble chamber, operated at Northwestern University in June and November 2016, has for the first time observed simultaneous bubble nucleation and scintillation by nuclear recoils in a superheated liquid. This chamber is instrumented with a CCD camera for near-IR bubble imaging, a solar-blind photomultiplier tube to detect 175-nm xenon scintillation light, and a piezoelectric acoustic transducer to detect the ultrasonic emission from a growing bubble. The time of nucleation determined from the acoustic signal is used to correlate specific scintillation pulses with bubble-nucleating events. We report on data from this chamber for thermodynamic "Seitz" thresholds from 4.2 to 15.0 keV. The observed single- and multiple-bubble rates when exposed to a $$^{252}$$Cf neutron source indicate that, for an 8.3-keV thermodynamic threshold, the minimum nuclear recoil energy required to nucleate a bubble is $$19\pm6$$ keV (1$$\sigma$$ uncertainty). This is consistent with the observed scintillation spectrum for bubble-nucleating events. We see no evidence for bubble nucleation by gamma rays at any of the thresholds studied, setting a 90% C.L. upper limit of $$6.3\times10^{-7}$$ bubbles per gamma interaction at a 4.2-keV thermodynamic threshold. This indicates stronger gamma discrimination than in CF$$_3$$I bubble chambers, supporting the hypothesis that scintillation production suppresses bubble nucleation by electron recoils while nuclear recoils nucleate bubbles as usual. Finally, these measurements establish the noble-liquid bubble chamber as a promising new technology for the detection of weakly interacting massive particle dark matter and coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States); Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
  2. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States)
  3. Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  4. Evanston Township High School, Evanston, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-PUB-17-062-AE-E-PPD; arXiv:1702.08861
Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007; PRLTAO; 1515351
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359; AC05-76RL01830; SC0012161; SC-0012161; 1506377
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 118; Journal Issue: 23; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS
OSTI Identifier:
1346354
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1372582; OSTI ID: 1379958