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Tagging Spallation Backgrounds with Showers in Water-Cherenkov Detectors  [PDF]
Shirley Weishi Li,John F. Beacom
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.92.105033
Abstract: Cosmic-ray muons and especially their secondaries break apart nuclei ("spallation") and produce fast neutrons and beta-decay isotopes, which are backgrounds for low-energy experiments. In Super-Kamiokande, these beta decays are the dominant background in 6--18 MeV, relevant for solar neutrinos and the diffuse supernova neutrino background. In a previous paper, we showed that these spallation isotopes are produced primarily in showers, instead of in isolation. This explains an empirical spatial correlation between a peak in the muon Cherenkov light profile and the spallation decay, which Super-Kamiokande used to develop a new spallation cut. However, the muon light profiles that Super-Kamiokande measured are grossly inconsistent with shower physics. We show how to resolve this discrepancy and how to reconstruct accurate profiles of muons and their showers from their Cherenkov light. We propose a new spallation cut based on these improved profiles and quantify its effects. Our results can significantly benefit low-energy studies in Super-Kamiokande, and will be especially important for detectors at shallower depths, like the proposed Hyper-Kamiokande.
First calculation of cosmic-ray muon spallation backgrounds for MeV astrophysical neutrino signals in Super-Kamiokande  [PDF]
Shirley Weishi Li,John F. Beacom
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.89.045801
Abstract: When muons travel through matter, their energy losses lead to nuclear breakup ("spallation") processes. The delayed decays of unstable daughter nuclei produced by cosmic-ray muons are important backgrounds for low-energy astrophysical neutrino experiments, e.g., those seeking to detect solar neutrino or Diffuse Supernova Neutrino Background (DSNB) signals. Even though Super-Kamiokande has strong general cuts to reduce these spallation-induced backgrounds, the remaining rate before additional cuts for specific signals is much larger than the signal rates for kinetic energies of about 6 -- 18 MeV. Surprisingly, there is no published calculation of the production and properties of these backgrounds in water, though there are such studies for scintillator. Using the simulation code FLUKA and theoretical insights, we detail how muons lose energy in water, produce secondary particles, how and where these secondaries produce isotopes, and the properties of the backgrounds from their decays. We reproduce Super-Kamiokande measurements of the total background to within a factor of 2, which is good given that the isotope yields vary by orders of magnitude and that some details of the experiment are unknown to us at this level. Our results break aggregate data into component isotopes, reveal their separate production mechanisms, and preserve correlations between them. We outline how to implement more effective background rejection techniques using this information. Reducing backgrounds in solar and DSNB studies by even a factor of a few could help lead to important new discoveries.
First measurement of radioactive isotope production through cosmic-ray muon spallation in Super-Kamiokande IV  [PDF]
Super-Kamiokande Collaboration
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: Cosmic-ray-muon spallation-induced radioactive isotopes with $\beta$ decays are one of the major backgrounds for solar, reactor, and supernova relic neutrino experiments. Unlike in scintillator, production yields for cosmogenic backgrounds in water have not been exclusively measured before, yet they are becoming more and more important in next generation neutrino experiments designed to search for rare signals. We have analyzed the low-energy trigger data collected at Super-Kamiokande-IV in order to determine the production rates of $^{12}$B, $^{12}$N, $^{16}$N, $^{11}$Be, $^9$Li, $^8$He, $^9$C, $^8$Li, $^8$B and $^{15}$C. These rates were extracted from fits to time differences between parent muons and subsequent daughter $\beta$'s by fixing the known isotope lifetimes. Since $^9$Li can fake an inverse-beta-decay reaction chain via a $\beta + n$ cascade decay, producing an irreducible background with detected energy up to a dozen MeV, a dedicated study is needed for evaluating its impact on future measurements; the application of a neutron tagging technique using correlated triggers was found to improve this $^9$Li measurement. The measured yields were generally found to be comparable with theoretical calculations, except the cases of the isotopes $^8$Li/$^8$B and $^9$Li.
Overcoming High Energy Backgrounds at Pulsed Spallation Sources  [PDF]
Nataliia Cherkashyna,Richard J. Hall-Wilton,Douglas D. DiJulio,Anton Khaplanov,Dorothea Pfeiffer,Julius Scherzinger,Carsten P. Cooper-Jensen,Kevin G. Fissum,Stuart Ansell,Erik B. Iverson,Georg Ehlers,Franz X. Gallmeier,Tobias Panzner,Emmanouela Rantsiou,Kalliopi Kanaki,Uwe Filges,Thomas Kittelmann,Maddi Extegarai,Valentina Santoro,Oliver Kirstein,Phillip M. Bentley
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: Instrument backgrounds at neutron scattering facilities directly affect the quality and the efficiency of the scientific measurements that users perform. Part of the background at pulsed spallation neutron sources is caused by, and time-correlated with, the emission of high energy particles when the proton beam strikes the spallation target. This prompt pulse ultimately produces a signal, which can be highly problematic for a subset of instruments and measurements due to the time-correlated properties, and different to that from reactor sources. Measurements of this background have been made at both SNS (ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN, USA) and SINQ (PSI, Villigen, Switzerland). The background levels were generally found to be low compared to natural background. However, very low intensities of high-energy particles have been found to be detrimental to instrument performance in some conditions. Given that instrument performance is typically characterised by S/N, improvements in backgrounds can both improve instrument performance whilst at the same time delivering significant cost savings. A systematic holistic approach is suggested in this contribution to increase the effectiveness of this. Instrument performance should subsequently benefit.
Production of Radioactive Isotopes through Cosmic Muon Spallation in KamLAND  [PDF]
The KamLAND Collaboration
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.81.025807
Abstract: Radioactive isotopes produced through cosmic muon spallation are a background for rare-event detection in $\nu$ detectors, double-$\beta$-decay experiments, and dark-matter searches. Understanding the nature of cosmogenic backgrounds is particularly important for future experiments aiming to determine the pep and CNO solar neutrino fluxes, for which the background is dominated by the spallation production of $^{11}$C. Data from the Kamioka liquid-scintillator antineutrino detector (KamLAND) provides valuable information for better understanding these backgrounds, especially in liquid scintillators, and for checking estimates from current simulations based upon MUSIC, FLUKA, and GEANT4. Using the time correlation between detected muons and neutron captures, the neutron production yield in the KamLAND liquid scintillator is measured to be $(2.8 \pm 0.3) \times 10^{-4} \mu^{-1} g^{-1} cm^{2}$. For other isotopes, the production yield is determined from the observed time correlation related to known isotope lifetimes. We find some yields are inconsistent with extrapolations based on an accelerator muon beam experiment.
Atmospheric Neutrinos at Super-Kamiokande  [PDF]
K. Scholberg,for the Super-Kamiokande Collaboration
Physics , 1999,
Abstract: In 1998, the Super-Kamiokande announced evidence for the observation of neutrino oscillations based on measurements of the atmospheric neutrino flux. This paper presents the updated results for fully and partially-contained events with 736 days of data, as well as upward-going muon results and a global analysis. Preliminary interpretations of the results in terms of various two-flavor oscillation hypotheses are presented.
A New Approach to Mass Measurements of UHECR: Horizontal Air Showers  [PDF]
Enrique Zas
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1063/1.1378640
Abstract: The role of Horizontal Showers induced by cosmic rays is discussed in detail. A new approach to the calculation of the muon component in horizontal air showers induced by protons, heavier nuclei or photons is presented which allows a simple analytical evaluation of the muon density profiles at ground level. The results of the first application of these results to horizontal air showers detected at the Haverah Park Array by the recently started {\sl Leeds-Santiago collaboration}, leading to important restrictions on composition at ultra high energies, are reported.
Extended Air Showers and Muon Interactions  [PDF]
A. N. Cillis,S. J. Sciutto
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.64.013010
Abstract: The objective of this work is to report on the influence of muon interactions on the development of air showers initiated by astroparticles. We make a comparative study of the different theoretical approaches to muon bremsstrahlung and muonic pair production interactions. A detailed algorithm that includes all the relevant characteristics of such processes has been implemented in the AIRES air shower simulation system. We have simulated ultra high energy showers in different conditions in order to measure the influence of these muonic electromagnetic interactions. We have found that during the late stages of the shower development (well beyond the shower maximum) many global observables are significantly modified in relative terms when the mentioned interactions are taken into account. This is most evident in the case of the electromagnetic component of very inclined showers. On the other hand, our simulations indicate that the studied processes do not induce significant changes either in the position of the shower maximum or the structure of the shower front surface.
Modelling Horizontal Air Showers Induced by Cosmic Rays  [PDF]
M. Ave,R. A. Vazquez,E. Zas
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1016/S0927-6505(00)00113-4
Abstract: We present a framework for the study of muon density patterns on the ground due to showers produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays incident at high zenith angles. As a checking procedure predictions of a model based on such a framework are compared to simulation results.
A model for the transport of muons in extensive air showers  [PDF]
L. Cazon,R. Concei??o,M. Pimenta,E. Santos
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2012.05.017
Abstract: In this article we identify the key elements that govern the propagation of muons from the production in extensive air showers to ground. We describe a model based on simple assumptions that propagates the muons starting from the few relevant distributions at production. We compare the results to the ground distributions given by a full air shower Monte Carlo. This study is motivated by the need of modeling the muon component in extensive air showers with the goal of experimentally reconstructing their distributions at production, which act as a footprint of the hadronic cascade.
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