Imaging individual barium atoms in solid xenon for barium tagging in nEXO.

Loading...
Thumbnail Image

Date

2019-05

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats

77
views
20
downloads

Citation Stats

Abstract

Double-β-decay involves the simultaneous conversion of two neutrons into two protons, and the emission of two electrons and two neutrinos; the neutrinoless process, although not yet observed, is thought to involve the emission of the two electrons but no neutrinos. The search for neutrinoless-double-β-decay probes fundamental properties of neutrinos, including whether or not the neutrino and antineutrino are distinct particles. Double-β-decay detectors are large and expensive, so it is essential to achieve the highest possible sensitivity with each study, and removing spurious contributions ('background') from detected signals is crucial. In the nEXO neutrinoless-double-β-decay experiment, the identification, or 'tagging', of the 136Ba daughter atom resulting from the double-β decay of 136Xe provides a technique for discriminating background. The tagging scheme studied here uses a cryogenic probe to trap the barium atom in a solid xenon matrix, where the barium atom is tagged through fluorescence imaging. Here we demonstrate the imaging and counting of individual barium atoms in solid xenon by scanning a focused laser across a solid xenon matrix deposited on a sapphire window. When the laser irradiates an individual atom, the fluorescence persists for about 30 seconds before dropping abruptly to the background level-a clear confirmation of one-atom imaging. Following evaporation of a barium deposit, the residual barium fluorescence is 0.16 per cent or less. Our technique achieves the imaging of single atoms in a solid noble element, establishing the basic principle of barium tagging for nEXO.

Department

Description

Provenance

Citation

Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1038/s41586-019-1169-4

Publication Info

nEXO Collaboration (2019). Imaging individual barium atoms in solid xenon for barium tagging in nEXO. Nature, 569(7755). pp. 203–207. 10.1038/s41586-019-1169-4 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/19576.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Scholars@Duke

Barbeau

Phillip S. Barbeau

Associate Professor of Physics

Professor Barbeau’s research interests are predominantly in the fields of neutrino and astroparticle physics. His efforts are focused on (but not limited to) three major areas of research: studying the physics of coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering; novel searches for the dark matter in our universe; and searches for zero neutrino double beta decay. The unifying aspect of the work is the common need for new and creative detector development in order to solve some of the “hard” problems in low-background rare-event detection.


Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.