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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

Baxter, D., Chen, C. J., Crisler, M., Cwiok, T., Dahl, C. E., Grimsted, A., Gupta, J., Jin, M., Puig, R., Temples, D., and Zhang, J.. First demonstration of a scintillating xenon bubble chamber for detecting dark matter and coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.231301.
Baxter, D., Chen, C. J., Crisler, M., Cwiok, T., Dahl, C. E., Grimsted, A., Gupta, J., Jin, M., Puig, R., Temples, D., & Zhang, J.. First demonstration of a scintillating xenon bubble chamber for detecting dark matter and coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.231301.
Baxter, D., Chen, C. J., Crisler, M., Cwiok, T., Dahl, C. E., Grimsted, A., Gupta, J., Jin, M., Puig, R., Temples, D., and Zhang, J.. 2017. "First demonstration of a scintillating xenon bubble chamber for detecting dark matter and coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.231301. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1346354.
@article{osti_1346354,
title = {First demonstration of a scintillating xenon bubble chamber for detecting dark matter and coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering},
author = {Baxter, D. and Chen, C. J. and Crisler, M. and Cwiok, T. and Dahl, C. E. and Grimsted, A. and Gupta, J. and Jin, M. and Puig, R. and Temples, D. and Zhang, J.},
abstractNote = {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.},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.231301},
journal = {Physical Review Letters},
number = 23,
volume = 118,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {6}
}