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Technical Publications

Low radioactive material screening and background control for the PandaX-4T experiment

Journal of High Energy Physics, Vol.06, 147(2022)

PandaX-4T is a ton-scale dark matter direct detection experiment using a dual-phase TPC technique at the China Jinping Underground Laboratory. Various ultra-low background technologies have been developed and applied to material screening for PandaX·4T, including HPGe gamma spectroscopy, ICP-MS, NAA, radon emanation measurement system, krypton assay station, and alpha detection system. Low background materials were selected to assemble the detector. Surface treatment procedures were investigated to further suppress radioactive background. Combining measured results and Monte Carlo simulation, the total material background rates of PandaX-4T in the energy region of $1–25$ $keV_{ee}$ are estimated to be $(9.9 ± 1.9)$ $\times$ $10^{−3} $mDRU$ for electron recoil and $(2.8 ± 0.6)$ $\times$ $10^{−4}$ $mDRU$ for nuclear recoil. In addition, ${}^{nat}Kr$ in the detector is estimated to be < $8$ $ppt$.


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

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.17, 01008(2022)

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.


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

Physical Review C, Vol.105, 014604(2022)

${}^{83m}Kr$ 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.


PandaX-4T cryogenic distillation system for removing krypton from xenon

Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol.92, 123303(2021)

An efficient cryogenic distillation system was designed and constructed for the PandaX-4T dark matter detector based on the McCabe–Thiele method and the conservation of mass and energy. This distillation system is designed to reduce the concentration of krypton in commercial xenon from $5$ $\times$ $10^{−7}$ to $\sim$ $10^{−14}$ $mol/mol$ with $99\%$ xenon collection efficiency at a maximum flow rate of $10$ $kg/h$. The offline distillation operation has been completed and $5.75$ tons of ultra-high purity xenon was produced, which is used as the detection medium in the PandaX4T detector. The krypton concentration of the product xenon is measured with an upper limit of $8.0$ $ppt$. The construction, operation, and stable purification performance of the cryogenic distillation system are studied with the experimental data, which is important for theoretical research and distillation operation optimization.


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.


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.


Design and commissioning of the PandaX-4T cryogenic distillation system for krypton and radon removal

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.16, 07046(2021)

An online cryogenic distillation system for the removal of krypton and radon from xenon was designed and constructed for PandaX-4T, a highly sensitive dark matter detection experiment. The krypton content in a commercial xenon product is expected to be reduced by $7$ orders of magnitude with $99\%$ xenon collection efficiency at a flow rate of $10$ $kg/h$ by design. The same system can reduce radon content in xenon by reversed operation, with an expected radon reduction factor of about $1.8$ in PandaX-4T under a flow rate of $56.5$ $kg/h$. The commissioning of this system was completed, with krypton and radon operations tested under respective working conditions. The krypton concentration of the product xenon was measured with an upper limit of $8.0$ $ppt$.


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

Internal calibration of the PandaX-II detector with radon gaseous sources

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.15, 12038(2020)

We have developed a low-energy electron recoil (ER) calibration method with ${}^{220}Rn$ for the PandaX-II detector. ${}^{220}Rn$, emanated from natural thorium compounds, was fed into the detector through the xenon purification system. From 2017 to 2019, we performed three dedicated calibration campaigns with different radon sources. We studied the detector response to $\alpha$, $\beta$, and $\gamma$ particles with focus on low energy ER events. During the runs in 2017 and 2018, the amount of radioactivity of ${}^{222}Rn$ were on the order of $1\%$ of that of ${}^{220}Rn$ and thorium particulate contamination was negligible, especially in 2018. We also measured the background contribution from ${}^{214}Pb$ for the first time in PandaX-II with the help from a ${}^{222}Rn$ injection. Calibration strategy with ${}^{220}Rn$ and ${}^{222}Rn$ will be implemented in the upcoming PandaX-4T experiment and can be useful for other xenon-based detectors as well.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Material screening with HPGe counting station for PandaX experiment

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.11, T12002(2016)

A gamma counting station based on high-purity germanium (HPGe) detector was set up for the material screening of the PandaX dark matter experiments in the China Jinping Underground Laboratory. Low background gamma rate of 2.6 counts/min within the energy range of 20 to 2700 keV is achieved due to the well-designed passive shield. The sentivities of the HPGe detetector reach mBq/kg level for isotopes like K, U, Th, and even better for Co and Cs, resulted from the low-background rate and the high relative detection efficiency of 175%. The structure and performance of the counting station are described in this article. Detailed counting results for the radioactivity in materials used by the PandaX dark-matter experiment are presented. The upgrading plan of the counting station is also discussed.


The electronics and data acquisition system for the PandaX-I dark matter experiment

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.11, T04002(2016)

We describe the electronics and data acquisition system used in the first phase of the PandaX experiment—a 120 kg dual-phase liquid xenon dark matter direct detection experiment in the China Jin-Ping Underground Laboratory. This system utilized 180 channels of commercial flash ADC waveform digitizers. During the entire experimental run, the system has achieved low trigger threshold (<1 keV electron-equivalent energy) and low deadtime data acquisition.


Performance of photosensors in the PandaX-I experiment

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.11, T02005(2016)

We report the long term performance of the photosensors, 143 one-inch R8520-406 and 37 three-inch R11410-MOD photomultipliers from Hamamatsu, in the first phase of the PandaX dual-phase xenon dark matter experiment. This is the first time that a significant number of R11410 photomultiplier tubes were operated in liquid xenon for an extended period, providing important guidance to the future large xenon-based dark matter experiments.


PandaX: a liquid xenon dark matter experiment at CJPL

Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy, Vol.57, 1476(2014)

PandaX is a large liquid-xenon detector experiment usable for direct dark-matter detection and ${}^{136}Xe$ double-beta decay search. The central vessel was designed to accommodate a staged target volume increase from initially 120 kg (stage I) to 0.5 t (stage II) and eventually to a multi-ton scale. The experiment is located in the Jinping Deep-Underground Laboratory in Sichuan, China. The detector operates in dual-phase mode, allowing detection of both prompt scintillation, and ionization charge through proportional scintillation. In this paper a detailed description of the stage I detector design and performance as well as results established during the commissioning phase are presented.


Development of the liquid level meters for the PandaX dark matter detector

Chinese Physics C, Vol.38, 056002(2014)

The two-phase xenon detector is at the frontier of dark matter direct search. This kind of detector uses liquid xenon as the sensitive target and is operated in two-phase (liquid/gas) mode, where the liquid level needs to be monitored and controlled in sub-millimeter precision. In this paper, we present a detailed design and study of two kinds of level meters for the PandaX dark matter detector. The long level meter is used to monitor the overall liquid level while short level meters are used to monitor the inclination of the detector. These level meters are cylindrical capacitors that are custom-made from two concentric metal tubes. Their capacitance values are read out by a universal transducer interface chip and are recorded by the PandaX slow control system. We present the developments that lead to level meters with long-term stability and sub-millimeter precision. Fluctuations (standard deviations) of less than 0.02 mm for the short level meters and less than 0.2 mm for the long level meter were achieved during a few days of test operation.


The cryogenic system for the Panda-X dark matter search experiment

Journal of Instrumentation, Vol.8, p01002(2013)

Panda-X is a liquid xenon dual-phase detector for the Dark Matter Search. The first modestly-sized module will soon be installed in the China JinPing Deep Underground Laboratory in Sichuan province, P.R. China. The cryogenic system is designed to handle much larger detectors, even the final version in the ton scale. Special attention has been paid to the reliability, serviceability, and adaptability to the requirements of a growing experiment. The system is cooled by a single Iwatani PC150 Pulse Tube Refrigerator. After subtracting all thermal losses, the remaining cooling power is still 82 W. The fill speed was 0.75 g/s, but could be boosted by $LN_{2}$ assisted cooling to 3.3 g/s. For the continuous recirculation and purification through a hot getter, a heat exchanger was employed to reduce the required cooling power. The recirculation speed is limited to 2.9 g/s by the gas pump. At this speed, recirculation only adds 18.5 W to the heat load of the system, corresponding to a 95.2 % efficiency of the heat exchanger.