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Physics  2011 

Studies of a three-stage dark matter and neutrino observatory based on multi-ton combinations of liquid xenon and liquid argon detectors

DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2012.05.006

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We study a three stage dark matter and neutrino observatory based on multi-ton two-phase liquid Xe and Ar detectors with sufficiently low backgrounds to be sensitive to WIMP dark matter interaction cross sections down to 10E-47 cm^2, and to provide both identification and two independent measurements of the WIMP mass through the use of the two target elements in a 5:1 mass ratio, giving an expected similarity of event numbers. The same detection systems will also allow measurement of the pp solar neutrino spectrum, the neutrino flux and temperature from a Galactic supernova, and neutrinoless double beta decay of 136Xe to the lifetime level of 10E27 - 10E28 y corresponding to the Majorana mass predicted from current neutrino oscillation data. The proposed scheme would be operated in three stages G2, G3, G4, beginning with fiducial masses 1-ton Xe + 5-ton Ar (G2), progressing to 10-ton Xe + 50-ton Ar (G3) then, dependent on results and performance of the latter, expandable to 100-ton Xe + 500-ton Ar (G4). This method of scale-up offers the advantage of utilizing the Ar vessel and ancillary systems of one stage for the Xe detector of the succeeding stage, requiring only one new detector vessel at each stage. Simulations show the feasibility of reducing or rejecting all external and internal background levels to a level <1 events per year for each succeeding mass level, by utilizing an increasing outer thickness of target material as self-shielding. The system would, with increasing mass scale, become increasingly sensitive to annual signal modulation, the agreement of Xe and Ar results confirming the Galactic origin of the signal. Dark matter sensitivities for spin-dependent and inelastic interactions are also included, and we conclude with a discussion of possible further gains from the use of Xe/Ar mixtures.


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