Measurement of the ionization yield from nuclear recoils in liquid xenon between 0.3 -- 6 keV with single-ionization-electron sensitivity

Journal Article

Dual-phase xenon TPC detectors are a highly scalable and widely used technology to search for low-energy nuclear recoil signals from WIMP dark matter or coherent nuclear scattering of $\sim$MeV neutrinos. Such experiments expect to measure O(keV) ionization or scintillation signals from such sources. However, at $\sim1\,$keV and below, the signal calibrations in liquid xenon carry large uncertainties that directly impact the assumed sensitivity of existing and future experiments. In this work, we report a new measurement of the ionization yield of nuclear recoil signals in liquid xenon down to 0.3$\,$keV$\,\,$-- the lowest energy calibration reported to date -- at which energy the average event produces just 1.1~ionized~electrons. Between 2 and 6$\,$keV, our measurements agree with existing measurements, but significantly improve the precision. At lower energies, we observe a decreasing trend that deviates from simple extrapolations of existing data. We also study the dependence of ionization yield on the applied drift field in liquid xenon between 220V/cm and 6240V/cm, allowing these measurements to apply to a broad range of current and proposed experiments with different operating parameters.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lenardo, B; Xu, J; Pereverzev, S; Akindele, OA; Naim, D; Kingston, J; Bernstein, A; Kazkaz, K; Tripathi, M; Awe, C; Li, L; Runge, J; Hedges, S; An, P; Barbeau, PS

Published Date

  • August 1, 2019