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First search for the absorption of fermionic dark matter with the PandaX-4T experiment

Physical Review Letters(2022)

Compared to the signature of dark matter elastic scattering off nuclei, absorption of fermionic dark matter by nuclei opens up a new searching channel for light dark matter with a characteristic mono-energetic signal. In this letter, we explore the 95.0-day data from PandaX-4T commissioning run and report the first dedicated searching results of the fermionic dark matter absorption signal through neutral current process. No significant signal was found and the lowest limit on the dark matter-nucleon interaction cross section is set to be $ 1.5 \times 10^{-50} cm^{2} $ for a fermionic dark matter mass of $40 MeV / c^{2}$ with 90% confidence level.


Neutron-induced nuclear recoil background in the PandaX-4T experiment

Chinese Physics C(2022)

Neutron-induced nuclear recoil background is critical to the dark matter searches in the PandaX-4T liquid xenon experiment. This paper studies the feature of neutron background in liquid xenon and evaluates their contribution in the single scattering nuclear recoil events through three methods. The first method is fully Monte Carlo simulation based. The last two are data-driven methods that also use the multiple scattering signals and high energy signals in the data, respectively. In the PandaX-4T commissioning data with an exposure of 0.63 tonne⋅year, all these methods give a consistent result that there are 1.15±0.57 neutron-induced background in dark matter signal region within an approximated nuclear recoil energy window between 5 and 100 keV.


A search for two-component Majorana dark matter in a simplified model using the full exposure data of PandaX-II experiment

Physics Letters B(2022)

In the two-component Majorana dark matter model, one dark matter particle can scatter off the target nuclei, and turn into a slightly heavier component. In the framework of a simplified model with a vector boson mediator, both the tree-level and loop-level processes contribute to the signal in direct detection experiment. In this paper, we report the search results for such dark matter from PandaX-II experiment, using total data of the full 100.7 tonne⋅day exposure. No significant excess is observed, so strong constraints on the combined parameter space of mediator mass and dark matter mass are derived. With the complementary search results from collider experiments, a large range of parameter space can be excluded.


Search for Cosmic-Ray Boosted Sub-GeV Dark Matter at the PandaX-II Experiment

Physical Review Letters, Vol.128, 171801(2022)

We report a novel search for the cosmic-ray boosted dark matter using the 100 tonne · day full dataset of the PandaX-II detector located at the China Jinping Underground Laboratory. With the extra energy gained from the cosmic rays, sub-GeV dark matter particles can produce visible recoil signals in the detector. The diurnal modulations in rate and energy spectrum are utilized to further enhance the signal sensitivity. Our result excludes the dark matter–nucleon elastic scattering cross section between 10−31 and 10−28 cm2 for dark matter masses from 0.1 MeV/c2 to 0.1 GeV/c2, with a large parameter space previously unexplored by experimental collaborations.


Dark Matter Search Results from the PandaX-4T Commissioning Run

Physical Review Letters, Vol.127(2021)

We report the first dark matter search results using the commissioning data from PandaX-4T. Using a time projection chamber with 3.7-tonne of liquid xenon target and an exposure of 0.63~tonne⋅year, 1058 candidate events are identified within an approximate electron equivalent energy window between 1 and 30 $keV$. No significant excess over background is observed. Our data set a stringent limit to the dark matter-nucleon spin-independent interactions, with a lowest excluded cross section (90% C.L.) of $3.3 \times 10^{−47}cm^2$ at a dark matter mass of 30 $GeV/c^2$.


${}^{83}Rb$/$ {}^{83m}Kr$ production and cross-section measurement with 3.4 MeV and 20 MeV proton beams

Physical Review C(2021)

${}^{83m}Kr$ with a short lifetime is an ideal calibration source for liquid xenon or liquid argon detector. The ${}^{83m}Kr$ isomer can be generated through the decay of ${}^{83}Rb$ isotope, and ${}^{83}Rb$ is usually produced by proton beams bombarding natural krypton atoms. In this paper, we report a successful production of ${}^{83}Rb$/$ {}^{83m}Kr$ with 3.4 MeV proton beam energy and measure the production rate with such low proton energy for the first time. Another production attempt was performed with newly available 20 MeV proton beam in China, the production rate is consistent with our expectation. The produced ${}^{83m}Kr$ source has been successfully injected into PandaX-II liquid xenon detector and yielded enough statistics for detector calibration.


A 500 MS/s waveform digitizer for PandaX dark matter experiments

Journal of Instrumentation(2021)

Waveform digitizers are key readout instruments in particle physics experiments. In this paper, we present a waveform digitizer for the PandaX dark matter experiments. It supports both external-trigger readout and triggerless readout, accommodating the needs of low rate full-waveform readout and channel-independent low threshold acquisition, respectively. This digitizer is a 8-channel VME board with a sampling rate of 500 MS/s and 14-bit resolution for each channel. A digitizer system consisting of 72 channels has been tested in situ of the PandaX-4T experiment. We report the system performance with real data.


Light yield and field dependence measurement in PandaX-II dual-phase xenon detector

Journal of Instrumentation(2021)

The dual-phase xenon detector is one of the most sensitive detectors for dark matter direct detection, where the energy deposition of incoming particles can be converted into light and electrons through xenon excitation and ionization. The detector response to signal energy deposition varies significantly with the electric field in liquid xenon . We study the detector light yield and its dependence on the electric field in PandaX-II dual-phase detector containing 580 kg liquid xenon in the sensitive volume. From measurement, the light yield at electric field from 0 V/cm to 317 V/cm is obtained for energy deposition up to 236 keV.


Performance of cryogenic demountable indium seal at high pressures

Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol.92, 093905(2021)

An essential challenge in seal design is to provide an ultra-low leak rate at cryogenic temperatures and high pressures. In this paper, the performance of demountable indium seals under a charging pressure of 8.5 MPa A and at cryogenic temperatures down to −190 °C was investigated. Three indium seal structures with a diameter of 30 mm were specifically designed and tested. All three structures went through both room temperature and cryogenic temperature tests in cycles with a pressure of up to 8.5 MPa A. In addition, leak rate experiments regarding the creep relaxation effect of the indium ring were conducted. The results showed that the leak rates of all three structures were lower than $1 \times 10^{-10} Pa\thinspace m^{3} s^{-1}$ at both room temperature and cryogenic temperature with the pressure up to 8.5 MPa A when the torque was 8 or 12 N m. It was concluded that the linear loads for achieving a successful indium seal were 163, 171, and $220 N mm^{-1}$ alongside its circumference for the 2 mm indium M-T structure, the 3 mm indium M-T structure, and the Z-shaped seal structure, respectively. Furthermore, although the torque slightly dropped after the assembly due to the creep relaxation effect, the leak rates of the structure were still lower than $1 \times 10^{-10} Pa\thinspace m^{3} s^{-1}$ three days after the assembly. The present work is helpful for designing ultra-low leak rate demountable indium seals at cryogenic temperatures and high pressures.


BambooMC -- A Geant4-based simulation program for the PandaX experiments

Journal of Instrumentation(2021)

The purpose of the PandaX experiments is to search for the possible events resulted from dark matter particles, neutrinoless double beta decay or other rare processes with xenon detectors. Understanding the energy depositions from backgrounds or calibration sources in these detectors is very important. The program of BambooMC is created to perform the Geant4-based Monte Carlo simulation, providing reference information for the experiments. We introduce the design and features of BambooMC in this report. The running of the program depends on a configuration file, which combines different detectors, event generators, physics lists and analysis packs together in one simulation. The program can be easily extended and applied to other experiments.


Constraining self-interacting dark matter with the full dataset of PandaX-II

SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, Vol.64, 111062(2021)

Self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) is a leading candidate proposed to solve discrepancies between predictions of the prevailing cold dark matter theory and observations of galaxies. Many SIDM models predict the existence of a light force carrier that mediates strong dark matter self-interactions. If the mediator couples to the standard model particles, it could produce characteristic signals in dark matter direct detection experiments. We report searches for signals of SIDM models with a light mediator using the full dataset of the PandaX-II experiment, basing on a total exposure of 132 tonne-days. No significant excess over background is found, and our likelihood analysis leads to a strong upper limit on the dark matter-nucleon coupling strength. We further combine the PandaX-II constraints and those from observations of the light element abundances in the early universe, and show that direct detection and cosmological probes can provide complementary constraints on dark matter models with a light mediator.


The Cryogenics and Xenon handling system for the PandaX-4T Experiment

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.16(2021)

PandaX-4T, the new generation of the PandaX detector, is a xenon dual-phase detector with about six tons of liquid xenon as target for dark matter search. A cryogenics and xenon handling system is designed to liquify and purify this large detector. In this paper, the results on the commission of the cryogenics and gas handling system are reported. The maximum cooling power of ~ 580 W at 178 K with three cooperating coldheads has been achieved. The filling rate with an assisted liquid nitrogen cooling can reach ~ 700 kg/day. The average rate of recuperation by liquid nitrogen is around 440 kg/day. The maximum total purification speed of two circulation loops is up to ~ 155 slpm. Each loop is using a large heat exchanger with a measured heat exchange efficiency of ~ 97.5+-0.5%.

DOI: 10.1088/1748-0221/16/06/T06007

Search for Light Dark Matter-Electron Scatterings in the PandaX-II Experiment

Physical Review Letters, Vol.126, 211803 (2021)

We report constraints on light dark matter through its interactions with shell electrons in the PandaX-II liquid xenon detector with a total 46.9 tonnes⋅day exposure. To effectively search for these very low energy electron recoils, ionization-only signals are selected from the data. 1821 candidates are identified within an ionization signal range between 50 and 75 photoelectrons, corresponding to a mean electronic recoil energy from 0.08 to 0.15 $keV$. The 90% C.L. exclusion limit on the scattering cross section between the dark matter and electron is calculated with systematic uncertainties properly taken into account. Under the assumption of point interaction, we provide the world’s most stringent limit within the dark matter mass range from 15 to 30 $MeV/c^2$, with the corresponding cross section from $2.5 \times 10^{-37}$ to $3.1 \times 10^{−38} cm^2$.


Determination of responses of liquid xenon to low energy electron and nuclear recoils using the PandaX-II detector

Chinese Physics C(2021)

We report a systematic determination of the responses of PandaX-II, a dual phase xenon time projection chamber detector, to low energy recoils. The electron recoil (ER) and nuclear recoil (NR) responses are calibrated, respectively, with injected tritiated methane or ${}^{220}Rn$ source, and with ${}^{241}Am-Be$ neutron source, within an energy range from 1-25 keV (ER) and 4-80 keV (NR), under the two drift fields of 400 and 317 V/cm. An empirical model is used to fit the light yield and charge yield for both types of recoils. The best fit models can well describe the calibration data. The systematic uncertainties of the fitted models are obtained via statistical comparison against the data.


An improved design of the readout base board of the photomultiplier tube for future PandaX dark matter experiments

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.15, T12006(2020)

The PandaX project consists of a series of xenon-based experiments that are used to search for dark matter (DM) particles and to study the fundamental properties of neutrinos. The next DM experiment PandaX-4T will be using 4 ton liquid xenon in the sensitive volume, which is nearly a factor of seven larger than that of the previous experiment PandaX-II. Due to the increasing target mass, the sensitivity of searching for both DM and neutrinoless double-beta decay ($0\nu\beta\beta$) signals in the same detector will be significantly improved. However, the typical energy of interest for $0\nu\beta\beta$ signals is at the MeV scale, which is much higher than that of most popular DM signals. In the baseline readout scheme of the photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), the dynamic range is very limited. Signals from the majority of PMTs in the top array of the detector are heavily saturated at MeV energies. This deteriorates the $0\nu\beta\beta$ search sensitivity. In this paper we report a new design of the readout base board of the PMTs for future PandaX DM experiments and present its improved performance on the dynamic range.


A search for solar axions and anomalous neutrino magnetic moment with the complete PandaX-II data

Chinese Physics Letters, Vol.38, 011301(2020)

We report a search for new physics signals using the low energy electron recoil events in the complete data set from PandaX-II, in light of the recent event excess reported by XENON1T. The data correspond to a total exposure of 100.7 ton-day with liquid xenon. With robust estimates of the dominant background spectra, we perform sensitive searches on solar axions and neutrinos with enhanced magnetic moment. We find that the axion-electron coupling $g_{Ae} \lt 4.6\times 10^{-12}$ for an axion mass less than $\rm 0.1~keV/c^2$ and the neutrino magnetic moment $μ_ν \lt 3.2\times 10^{-11}μ_{B}$ at 90% confidence level. The observed excess from XENON1T is within our experimental constraints.


Results of Dark Matter Search using the Full PandaX-II Exposure

Chinese Physics C, Vol.44, 125001(2020)

We report the dark matter search results using the full 132 ton⋅day exposure of the PandaX-II experiment, including all data from March 2016 to August 2018. No significant excess of events were identified above the expected background. Upper limits are set on the spin-independent dark matter-nucleon interactions. The lowest 90% confidence level exclusion on the spin-independent cross section is $2.0 \times 10^{−46} cm^{2}$ at a WIMP mass of 15 $GeV / c^{2}$.


An Improved Evaluation of the Neutron Background in the PandaX-II Experiment

SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy(2019)

In dark matter direct detection experiments, neutron is a serious source of background, which can mimic the dark matter-nucleus scattering signals. In this paper, we present an improved evaluation of the neutron background in the PandaX-II dark matter experiment by a novel approach. Instead of fully relying on the Monte Carlo simulation, the overall neutron background is determined from the neutron-induced high energy signals in the data. In addition, the probability of producing a dark-matter-like background per neutron is evaluated with a complete Monte Carlo generator, where the correlated emission of neutron(s) and $\gamma$(s) in the ($\alpha$, n) reactions and spontaneous fissions is taken into consideration. With this method, the neutron backgrounds in the Run 9 (26-ton-day) and Run 10 (28-ton-day) data sets of PandaX-II are estimated to be 0.66±0.24 and 0.47±0.25 events, respectively.


Searching for neutrino-less double beta decay of 136Xe with PandaX-II liquid xenon detector

Chinese Physics C, Vol.43, 113001(2019)

We report the Neutrino-less Double Beta Decay (NLDBD) search results from PandaX-II dual-phase liquid xenon time projection chamber. The total live time used in this analysis is 403.1 days from June 2016 to August 2018. With NLDBD-optimized event selection criteria, we obtain a fiducial mass of 219 kg of natural xenon. The accumulated xenon exposure is 242 kg $\cdotp$ yr, or equivalently 22.2 kg $\cdotp$ yr of ${}^{136}Xe$ exposure. At the region around ${}^{136}Xe$ decay Q-value of 2458 keV, the energy resolution of PandaX-II is 4.2%. We find no evidence of NLDBD in PandaX-II and establish a lower limit for decay half-life of 2.1$\times 10^{23}$ yr at the 90% confidence level, which corresponds to an effective Majorana neutrino mass $m_{\beta \beta}\lt$ (1.4 - 3.7) eV. This is the first NLDBD result reported from a dual-phase xenon experiment.


Dark matter direct search sensitivity of the PandaX-4T experiment

Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, Vol.62, 31011(2018)

The PandaX-4T experiment, a 4-ton scale dark matter direct detection experiment, is being planned at the China Jinping Un- derground Laboratory. In this paper we present a simulation study of the expected background in this experiment. In a 2.8-ton fiducial mass and the signal region between 1-10 keV electron equivalent energy, the total electron recoil background is found to be $4.9 \times 10^{5} kg^{-1}d^{-1}keV^{-1}$. The nuclear recoil background in the same region is $2.8 \times 10^{-7} kg^{-1}d^{-1}keV^{-1}$. With an exposure of 5.6 ton-years, the sensitivity of PandaX-4T could reach a minimum spin-independent dark matter-nucleon cross section of $6 \times 10^{-48}cm^{2}$ at a dark matter mass of 40 $GeV/c^{2}$.


Signal-background discrimination with convolutional neural networks in the PandaX-III experiment using MC simulation

Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, Vol.61, 101007(2018)

The PandaX-III experiment will search for neutrinoless double beta decay of ${}^{136}Xe$ with high pressure gaseous time projection chambers at the China Jin-Ping underground Laboratory. The tracking feature of gaseous detectors helps suppress the background level, resulting in the improvement of the detection sensitivity. We study a method based on the convolutional neural networks to discriminate double beta decay signals against the background from high energy gammas generated by ${}^{214}Bi$ and ${}^{208}Tl$ decays based on detailed Monte Carlo simulation. Using the 2-dimensional projections of recorded tracks on two planes, the method successfully suppresses the background level by a factor larger than 100 with a high signal efficiency. An improvement of 62% on the efficiency ratio of $\epsilon_{s}/\sqrt{\epsilon_{b}}$ is achieved in comparison with the baseline in the PandaX-III conceptual design report.


Constraining Dark Matter Models with a Light Mediator at the PandaX-II Experiment

Physical Review Letters, Vol.121, 021304(2018)

We search for nuclear recoil signals of dark matter models with a light mediator in PandaX-II, a direct detection experiment in the China Jinping underground laboratory. Using data collected in 2016 and 2017 runs, corresponding to a total exposure of 54 ton day, we set upper limits on the zero-momentum dark matter-nucleon cross section. These limits have a strong dependence on the mediator mass when it is comparable to or below the typical momentum transfer. We apply our results to constrain self-interacting dark matter models with a light mediator mixing with standard model particles, and set strong limits on the model parameter space for the dark matter mass ranging from 5 GeV to 10 TeV.


PandaX-II Constraints on Spin-Dependent WIMP-Nucleon Effective Interactions

Physics Letters B, Vol.792, 193-198(2018)

We present PandaX-II constraints on candidate WIMP-nucleon effective interactions involving the nucleon or WIMP spin, including, in addition to standard axial spin-dependent (SD) scattering, various couplings among vector and axial currents, magnetic and electric dipole moments, and tensor interactions. The data set corresponding to a total exposure of 54-ton-days is reanalyzed to determine constraints as a function of the WIMP mass and isospin coupling. We obtain WIMP-nucleon cross section bounds of $1.6\times 10^{-41}cm^2$ and $9.0\times10^{-42}cm^2$ (90% c.l.) for neutron-only SD and tensor coupling, respectively, for a mass $M_{WIMP} ∼ 40 GeV/c^2$. The SD limits are the best currently available for $M_{WIMP} > 40 GeV/c^2$. We show that PandaX-II has reached a sensitivity sufficient to probe a variety of other candidate spin-dependent interactions at the weak scale.


Design and commissioning of a 600 L Time Projection Chamber with Microbulk Micromegas

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.13, P06012(2018)

We report the design, construction, and initial commissioning results of a large high pressure gaseous Time Projection Chamber (TPC) with Micromegas modules for charge readout. The detector vessel has an inner volume of about 600 L and an active volume of 270 L. At 10 bar operating pressure, the active volume contains about 20 kg of xenon gas and can image charged particle tracks. Drift electrons are collected by the charge readout plane, which accommodates a tessellation of seven Micromegas modules. Each of the Micromegas covers a square of 20 cm by 20 cm. A new type of Microbulk Micromegas is chosen for this application due to its good gain uniformity and low radioactive contamination. Initial commissioning results with 1 Micromegas module running with 1 bar argon and isobutane gas mixture and 5 bar xenon and trimethylamine (TMA) gas mixture are reported. We also recorded extended background tracks from cosmic ray events and highlighted the unique tracking feature of this gaseous TPC.


Explore the Inelastic Frontier with 79.6-day of PandaX-II Data

Phys. Rev. D, Vol.96, 102007(2017)

We report here the results of searching for inelastic scattering of dark matter (initial and final state dark matter particles differ by a small mass splitting) with a nucleon for the first 79.6 days of PandaX-II data (Run 9). We set the upper limits for the spin independent weakly interactive massive particle–nucleon scattering cross section up to a mass splitting of $300  keV/c^{2}$ at two benchmark dark matter masses of 1 and $10  TeV/c^{2}$.


Limits on Axion Couplings from the First 80 Days of Data of the PandaX-II Experiment

Physical Review Letters, Vol.119, 181806(2017)

We report new searches for solar axions and galactic axionlike dark matter particles, using the first low-background data from the PandaX-II experiment at China Jinping Underground Laboratory, corresponding to a total exposure of about $2.7×10^{4}$  kg day. No solar axion or galactic axionlike dark matter particle candidate has been identified. The upper limit on the axion-electron coupling ($g_{Ae}$) from the solar flux is found to be about $4.35×10^{−12}$ in the mass range from $10^{-5}$ to $1 keV/c^{2}$ with 90% confidence level, similar to the recent LUX result. We also report a new best limit from the ${}^{57}Fe$ deexcitation. On the other hand, the upper limit from the galactic axions is on the order of $10^{-13}$ in the mass range from 1 to $10 keV/c^{2}$ with 90% confidence level, slightly improved compared with the LUX.


Dark Matter Results From 54-Ton-Day Exposure of PandaX-II Experiment

Physical Review Letters, Vol.119, 181302(2017)

We report a new search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) using the combined low background data sets acquired in 2016 and 2017 from the PandaX-II experiment in China. The latest data set contains a new exposure of 77.1 live days, with the background reduced to a level of $0.8×10^{-3} evt/kg/day$, improved by a factor of 2.5 in comparison to the previous run in 2016. No excess events are found above the expected background. With a total exposure of $5.4×10^{4}kg day$, the most stringent upper limit on the spin-independent WIMP-nucleon cross section is set for a WIMP with mass larger than $100 GeV/c^{2}$, with the lowest 90% C.L. exclusion at $8.6×10^{-47}cm^{2}$ at $40 GeV/c^{2}$.


Update of the trigger system of the PandaX-II experiment

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.12, T08004(2017)

PandaX-II experiment is a dark matter direct detection experiment using about half-ton of liquid xenon as the sensitive target. The electrical pulses detected by photomultiplier tubes from scintillation photons of xenon are recorded by waveform digitizers. The data acquisition of PandaX-II relies on a trigger system that generates common trigger signals for all waveform digitizers. Previously an analog device-based trigger system was used for the data acquisition system. In this paper we present a new FPGA-based trigger system. The design of this system and trigger algorithms are described. The performance of this system on real data is presented.


First dark matter search results from the PandaX-I experiment

Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, Vol.57, 2024(2017)

We report on the first dark-matter (DM) search results from PandaX-I, a low threshold dual-phase xenon experiment operating at the China JinPing Underground Laboratory. In the 37-kg liquid xenon target with 17.4 live-days of exposure, no DM particle candidate event was found. This result sets a stringent limit for low-mass DM particles and disfavors the interpretation of previously-reported positive experimental results. The minimum upper limit, $3.7 × 10^{-44}cm^{2}$, for the spin-independent isoscalar DM-particle-nucleon scattering cross section is obtained at a DM-particle mass of $49GeV/c^{2}$ at 90% confidence level.


Spin-Dependent Weakly-Interacting-Massive-Particle–Nucleon Cross Section Limits from First Data of PandaX-II Experiment

Physical Review Letters, Vol.118, 071301(2017)

New constraints are presented on the spin-dependent weakly-interacting-massive-particle-(WIMP-)nucleon interaction from the PandaX-II experiment, using a data set corresponding to a total exposure of $3.3×10^{4}kg day$. Assuming a standard axial-vector spin-dependent WIMP interaction with ${}^{129}Xe$ and ${}^{131}Xe$ nuclei, the most stringent upper limits on WIMP-neutron cross sections for WIMPs with masses above $10 GeV/c^{2}$ are set in all dark matter direct detection experiments. The minimum upper limit of $4.1×10^{-41}cm^{2}$ at 90% confidence level is obtained for a WIMP mass of $40 GeV/c^{2}$. This represents more than a factor of 2 improvement on the best available limits at this and higher masses. These improved cross-section limits provide more stringent constraints on the effective WIMP-proton and WIMP-neutron couplings.