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Title: Naturally occurring 32Si and low-background silicon dark matter detectors

Abstract

Here, the naturally occurring radioisotope 32Si represents a potentially limiting background in future dark matter direct-detection experiments. We investigate sources of 32Si and the vectors by which it comes to reside in silicon crystals used for fabrication of radiation detectors. We infer that the 32Si concentration in commercial single-crystal silicon is likely variable, dependent upon the specific geologic and hydrologic history of the source (or sources) of silicon “ore” and the details of the silicon-refinement process. The silicon production industry is large, highly segmented by refining step, and multifaceted in terms of final product type, from which we conclude that production of 32Si-mitigated crystals requires both targeted silicon material selection and a dedicated refinement-through-crystal-production process. We review options for source material selection, including quartz from an underground source and silicon isotopically reduced in 32Si. To quantitatively evaluate the 32Si content in silicon metal and precursor materials, we propose analytic methods employing chemical processing and radiometric measurements. Ultimately, it appears feasible to produce silicon detectors with low levels of 32Si, though significant assay method development is required to validate this claim and thereby enable a quality assurance program during an actual controlled silicon-detector production cycle.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
OSTI Identifier:
1420890
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1548746
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-127795
Journal ID: ISSN 0927-6505; PII: S0927650517302529; TRN: US1801504
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Astroparticle Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 99; Journal ID: ISSN 0927-6505
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Dark matter; Direct detection; Silicon; 32Si assay

Citation Formats

Orrell, John L., Arnquist, Isaac J., Bliss, Mary, Bunker, Raymond, and Finch, Zachary S. Naturally occurring 32Si and low-background silicon dark matter detectors. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2018.02.005.
Orrell, John L., Arnquist, Isaac J., Bliss, Mary, Bunker, Raymond, & Finch, Zachary S. Naturally occurring 32Si and low-background silicon dark matter detectors. United States. doi:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2018.02.005.
Orrell, John L., Arnquist, Isaac J., Bliss, Mary, Bunker, Raymond, and Finch, Zachary S. Sat . "Naturally occurring 32Si and low-background silicon dark matter detectors". United States. doi:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2018.02.005. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1420890.
@article{osti_1420890,
title = {Naturally occurring 32Si and low-background silicon dark matter detectors},
author = {Orrell, John L. and Arnquist, Isaac J. and Bliss, Mary and Bunker, Raymond and Finch, Zachary S.},
abstractNote = {Here, the naturally occurring radioisotope 32Si represents a potentially limiting background in future dark matter direct-detection experiments. We investigate sources of 32Si and the vectors by which it comes to reside in silicon crystals used for fabrication of radiation detectors. We infer that the 32Si concentration in commercial single-crystal silicon is likely variable, dependent upon the specific geologic and hydrologic history of the source (or sources) of silicon “ore” and the details of the silicon-refinement process. The silicon production industry is large, highly segmented by refining step, and multifaceted in terms of final product type, from which we conclude that production of 32Si-mitigated crystals requires both targeted silicon material selection and a dedicated refinement-through-crystal-production process. We review options for source material selection, including quartz from an underground source and silicon isotopically reduced in 32Si. To quantitatively evaluate the 32Si content in silicon metal and precursor materials, we propose analytic methods employing chemical processing and radiometric measurements. Ultimately, it appears feasible to produce silicon detectors with low levels of 32Si, though significant assay method development is required to validate this claim and thereby enable a quality assurance program during an actual controlled silicon-detector production cycle.},
doi = {10.1016/j.astropartphys.2018.02.005},
journal = {Astroparticle Physics},
number = ,
volume = 99,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Conjectured transport and accumulation of cosmogenically created 32Si in the terrestrial environment. Cosmic rays interact with 40Ar in the atmosphere to spallate 32Si that is then transported into the terrestrial environment via precipitation, leading to accumulation of 32Si in: A) streams and settling ponds that may be sourcesmore » of processing water for silicon mining and refinement; B) surface sands and near-surface silicon deposits; and C) oceans and lakes, where it can be transported by biological organisms and ultimately incorporated into the underlying sediments.« less

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