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Majorana DUSEL R&D Final Report

Description: This report summarizes the work performed at PNNL under the project Majorana Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay DUSEL R&D over the period of FY07-FY09.
Date: September 21, 2010
Creator: Fast, James E.; Hoppe, Eric W.; Mintzer, Esther E.; Aalseth, Craig E.; Day, Anthony R.; Gerlach, David C. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Opportunities for Decay Counting of Environmental Radioisotopes Using Ultra-low-background Detection Systems

Description: Executive Summary We present results from a scoping study whose intent was to define challenge measurements to be pursued on the Ultra-Sensitive Nuclear Measurements Initiative. Potential challenge measurements using new radiation detection technology in the shallow underground laboratory that would have substantial impact in environmental science were the focus of this study.
Date: August 1, 2012
Creator: Runkle, Robert C.; Aalseth, Craig E.; Bailey, Vanessa L.; Bonicalzi, Ricco; Moran, James J.; Seifert, Allen et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: The purpose of this research was to develop a radiation detection device so sensitive that a decay rate of only one atom per 11.57 days per kilogram of material could be detected. Such a detector is needed for screening materials that will be used in exotic high energy physics experiments currently being planned for the near future. The research was performed deep underground at the Underground Mine State Park in Soudan, Minnesota. The overburden there is ~1800 meters water equivalent. The reason for performing the research at such depth was to vastly reduce the effects of cosmic radiation. The flux of muons and fast neutrons is about 100,000 times lower than at the surface. A small clean room quality lab building was constructed so that work could be performed in such a manner that radioactive contamination could be kept at a minimum. Glove boxes filled with dry nitrogen gas were used to further reduce contamination from dirt and also help reduce the concentration of the radioactive gas 222Ra and daughter radionuclides which are normally present in air. A massive lead shield (about 20 tons) was constructed in such a manner that an eight inch cube of space in the center was available for the sample and detector. The innermost 4" thick lead walls were made of ~460 year old lead previously used in double beta decay experiments and known to be virtually free of 210Pb. A one and one half inch thick shell of active plastic scintillator was imbedded in the center of the 16" thick lead walls, ceiling, and floor of the shield and is used to help reduce activity due to the few muons and fast neutrons seen at this depth. The thick lead shielding was necessary to shield the detector from gamma rays emitted by radionuclides in ...
Date: March 17, 2006
Creator: Reeves, James H & Kauer, Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Phase I Rinal Report: Ultra-Low Background Alpha Activity Counter

Description: In certain important physics experiments that search for rare-events, such as neutrino or double beta decay detections, it is critical to minimize the number of background events that arise from alpha particle emitted by the natural radioactivity in the materials used to construct the experiment. Similarly, the natural radioactivity in materials used to connect and package silicon microcircuits must also be minimized in order to eliminate ''soft errors'' caused by alpha particles depositing charges within the microcircuits and thereby changing their logic states. For these, and related reasons in the areas of environmental cleanup and nuclear materials tracking, there is a need that is important from commercial, scientific, and national security perspectives to develop an ultra-low background alpha counter that would be capable of measuring materials' alpha particle emissivity at rates well below 0.00001 alpha/cm{sup 2}/hour. This rate, which corresponds to 24 alpha particles per square meter per day, is essentially impossible to achieve with existing commercial instruments because the natural radioactivity of the materials used to construct even the best of these counters produces background rates at the 0.005 alpha/cm{sup 2}/hr level. Our company (XIA) had previously developed an instrument that uses electronic background suppression to operate at the 0.0005 0.005 alpha/cm{sup 2}/hr level. This patented technology sets up an electric field between a large planar sample and a large planar anode, and fills the gap with pure Nitrogen. An alpha particle entering the chamber ionizes the Nitrogen, producing a ''track'' of electrons, which drift to the anode in the electric field. Tracks close to the anode take less than 10 microseconds (us) to be collected, giving a preamplifier signal with a 10 us risetime. Tracks from the sample have to drift across the full anode-sample gap and produce a 35 us risetime signal. By analyzing the preamplifier signals ...
Date: July 22, 2005
Creator: Warburton, W.K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department