April 5, 2024
Conference Paper

Modeling backgrounds for the majorana demonstrator


The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is a neutrinoless double-beta decay (0?ß ß ) experiment containing ~30 kg of p-type point contact germanium detectors enriched to 88% in 76Ge and ~14 kg of natural germanium detectors. The detectors are housed in two electroformed copper cryostats and surrounded by a graded passive shield with active muon veto. An extensive radioassay campaign was performed prior to installation to insure the use of ultra-clean materials. The DEMONSTRATOR achieved one of the lowest background rates in the region of the 0?ß ß Q-value, 15.7 ± 1.4 cts/(FWHM t y) from the low-background configuration spanning most of the 64.5 kg-yr active exposure. Nevertheless this background rate is a factor of five higher than the projected background rate. This discrepancy arises from an excess of events from the 232Th decay chain. Background model fits aim to understand this deviation from assay-based projections, potentially determine the source(s) of observed backgrounds, and allow a precision measurement of the two-neutrino double-beta decay half-life. The fits agree with earlier simulation studies, which indicate the origin of the 232Th excess is not from a near-detector component and have informed design decisions for the next-generation LEGEND experiment. Recent findings have narrowed the suspected locations for the excess activity, motivating a final simulation and assay campaign to complete the background model.

Published: April 5, 2024


Haufe C.R., I.J. Arnquist, F.T. Avignone, A. Barabash, C.J. Barton, K.H. Bhimani, and E. Blalock, et al. 2023. Modeling backgrounds for the majorana demonstrator. In Low Radioactivity Technique (LRT 2022) Proceedings of the 8th International Workshop on Low Radioactivity Techniques, June 14-17, 2022, Rapid City, IA., AIP Proceedings, edited by J. Heise and R.W. Schnee, 2905, Paper No.100001. Melville, New York:AIP Publishing. PNNL-SA-177042. doi:10.1063/5.0161379

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