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Title: Low background screening capability in the UK

Low background rare event searches in underground laboratories seeking observation of direct dark matter interactions or neutrino-less double beta decay have the potential to profoundly advance our understanding of the physical universe. Successful results from these experiments depend critically on construction from extremely radiologically clean materials and accurate knowledge of subsequent low levels of expected background. The experiments must conduct comprehensive screening campaigns to reduce radioactivity from detector components, and these measurements also inform detailed characterisation and quantification of background sources and their impact, necessary to assign statistical significance to any potential discovery. To provide requisite sensitivity for material screening and characterisation in the UK to support our rare event search activities, we have re-developed our infrastructure to add ultra-low background capability across a range of complementary techniques that collectively allow complete radioactivity measurements. Ultra-low background HPGe and BEGe detectors have been installed at the Boulby Underground Laboratory, itself undergoing substantial facility re-furbishment, to provide high sensitivity gamma spectroscopy in particular for measuring the uranium and thorium decay series products. Dedicated low-activity mass spectrometry instrumentation has been developed at UCL for part per trillion level contaminant identification to complement underground screening with direct U and Th measurements, and meet throughputmore » demands. Finally, radon emanation screening at UCL measures radon background inaccessible to gamma or mass spectrometry techniques. With this new capability the UK is delivering half of the radioactivity screening for the LZ dark matter search experiment.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. University College London, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22488698
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 1672; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: LRT 2015: 5. international workshop in low radioactivity techniques, Seattle, WA (United States), 18-20 Mar 2015; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; DOUBLE BETA DECAY; GAMMA SPECTROSCOPY; HIGH-PURITY GE DETECTORS; MASS SPECTROSCOPY; NEUTRINOS; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; RADIOACTIVITY; RADON; SENSITIVITY; UNDERGROUND; URANIUM