Development of a Portable Muon Witness System

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Since understanding and quantifying cosmic ray induced radioactive backgrounds in copper and germanium are important to the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, methods are needed for monitoring the levels of such backgrounds produced in materials being transported and processed for the experiment. This report focuses on work conducted at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to develop a muon witness system as a one way of monitoring induced activities. The operational goal of this apparatus is to characterize cosmic ray exposure of materials. The cosmic ray flux at the Earth’s surface is composed of several types of particles, including neutrons, muons, gamma rays and protons. ... continued below

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Aguayo Navarrete, Estanislao; Kouzes, Richard T. & Orrell, John L. January 1, 2011.

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Description

Since understanding and quantifying cosmic ray induced radioactive backgrounds in copper and germanium are important to the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, methods are needed for monitoring the levels of such backgrounds produced in materials being transported and processed for the experiment. This report focuses on work conducted at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to develop a muon witness system as a one way of monitoring induced activities. The operational goal of this apparatus is to characterize cosmic ray exposure of materials. The cosmic ray flux at the Earth’s surface is composed of several types of particles, including neutrons, muons, gamma rays and protons. These particles induce nuclear reactions, generating isotopes that contribute to the radiological background. Underground, the main mechanism of activation is by muon produced spallation neutrons since the hadron component of cosmic rays is removed at depths greater than a few tens of meters. This is a sub-dominant contributor above ground, but muons become predominant in underground experiments. For low-background experiments cosmogenic production of certain isotopes, such as 68Ge and 60Co, must be accounted for in the background budgets. Muons act as minimum ionizing particles, depositing a fixed amount of energy per unit length in a material, and have a very high penetrating power. Using muon flux measurements as a “witness” for the hadron flux, the cosmogenic induced activity can be quantified by correlating the measured muon flux and known hadronic production rates. A publicly available coincident muon cosmic ray detector design, the Berkeley Lab Cosmic Ray Detector (BLCRD), assembled by Juniata College, is evaluated in this work. The performance of the prototype is characterized by assessing its muon flux measurements. This evaluation is done by comparing data taken in identical scenarios with other cosmic ray telescopes. The prototype is made of two plastic scintillator paddles with associated electronics to measure energy depositions in coincidence in the two paddles. For this particular application of the prototype, the measurements performed concentrated on a broad investigation of the dependence of the muon flux on depth underground. These tests were conducted inside at Building 3420/1307 and underground at Building 3425 at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The second half of this report analyzes modifications to the electronics of the BLCRD to make this detector portable. Among other modifications, a battery powered version of these electronics is proposed for the final Muon Witness design.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-20194
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1012294 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1012294
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841864

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • January 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 2:06 p.m.

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Aguayo Navarrete, Estanislao; Kouzes, Richard T. & Orrell, John L. Development of a Portable Muon Witness System, report, January 1, 2011; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841864/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.