The Low-Energy Charged-Current Electron Neutrino Cross Section on Argon at the Spallation Neutron Source

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2023

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When a massive star reaches the end of its life, it releases 99\% of its energy in the form of neutrinos during a process known as a core-collapse supernova burst. The neutrinos are released in a prompt burst lasting several tens-of-seconds with energies in the tens-of-MeV range. They carry vital information both about neutrinos properties and also about the supernova burst mechanism. Future neutrino detectors like the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) plan to perform a high-precision measurement of supernova neutrinos, specifically targeting the electron flavor component of the signal. Liquid argon detectors like DUNE will primarily observe the supernova neutrinos via the neutrino-argon charged-current inelastic ($\nu_e$CC) interaction. However, this interaction's cross section has never been measured at the energy regime relevant for supernova neutrino detection. Several theoretical models exist, but they contain discrepancies when comparing different models; the differences are significant enough to introduce biases in a supernova measurement for incorrect cross section strength assumptions. A deeper understanding of the $\nu_e$CC cross section is fundamental in fully preparing for the next core-collapse supernova burst, and current experimental endeavors at the Spallation Neutron Source present the opportunity to provide preliminary constraints and an initial measurement. In this thesis, I examine the $\nu_e$CC cross section from both a theoretical and experimental point of view. I study the impact of uncertainties in the $\nu_e$CC cross section on a future supernova neutrino measurement in DUNE, and I also use data taken by the COH-Ar-10 detector of the COHERENT collaboration to perform characterization studies for a future $\nu_e$CC measurement with COH-Ar-10.

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Conley, Erin Elizabeth (2023). The Low-Energy Charged-Current Electron Neutrino Cross Section on Argon at the Spallation Neutron Source. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27748.

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