Estimation of Cosmic Induced Contamination in Ultra-low Background Detector Materials

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Executive Summary This document presents the result of investigating a way to reliably determine cosmic induced backgrounds for ultra-low background materials. In particular, it focuses on those radioisotopes produced by the interactions with cosmic ray particles in the detector materials that act as a background for experiments looking for neutrinoless double beta decay. This investigation is motivated by the desire to determine background contributions from cosmic ray activation of the electroformed copper that is being used in the construction of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. The most important radioisotope produced in copper that contributes to the background budget is 60Co, which has ... continued below

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Aguayo Navarrete, Estanislao; Kouzes, Richard T.; Orrell, John L.; Berguson, Timothy J. & Greene, Austen T. August 1, 2012.

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Executive Summary This document presents the result of investigating a way to reliably determine cosmic induced backgrounds for ultra-low background materials. In particular, it focuses on those radioisotopes produced by the interactions with cosmic ray particles in the detector materials that act as a background for experiments looking for neutrinoless double beta decay. This investigation is motivated by the desire to determine background contributions from cosmic ray activation of the electroformed copper that is being used in the construction of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. The most important radioisotope produced in copper that contributes to the background budget is 60Co, which has the potential to deposit energy in the region of interest of this experiment. Cobalt-60 is produced via cosmic ray neutron collisions in the copper. This investigation aims to provide a method for determining whether or not the copper has been exposed to cosmic radiation beyond the threshold which the Majorana Project has established as the maximum exposure. This threshold is set by the Project as the expected contribution of this source of background to the overall background budget. One way to estimate cosmic ray neutron exposure of materials on the surface of the Earth is to relate it to the cosmic ray muon exposure. Muons are minimum-ionizing particles and the available technologies to detect muons are easier to implement than those to detect neutrons. We present the results of using a portable, ruggedized muon detector, the µ-Witness made by our research group, for determination of muon exposure of materials for the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. From the muon flux measurement, this report presents a method to estimate equivalent sea-level exposure, and then infer the neutron exposure of the tracked material and thus the cosmogenic activation of the copper. This report combines measurements of the muon flux taken by the µ-Witness detector with Geant4 simulations in order to assure our understanding of the µ-Witness prototype. As a proof of concept, we present the results of using this detector with electroformed copper during its transport from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where the copper is grown, to the underground lab in Lead, South Dakota, where the experiment is being deployed. The development of a code to be used with the Majorana parts tracking database, designed to aid in estimating the cosmogenic activation, is also presented.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-21696
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1056763 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1056763
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc835119

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  • August 1, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 11:19 a.m.

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Aguayo Navarrete, Estanislao; Kouzes, Richard T.; Orrell, John L.; Berguson, Timothy J. & Greene, Austen T. Estimation of Cosmic Induced Contamination in Ultra-low Background Detector Materials, report, August 1, 2012; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc835119/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.