Experimental M1 response of Ar 40 as a benchmark for neutrino-nucleus scattering calculations
The excitation of atomic nuclei via magnetic dipole transitions is closely related to the inelastic neutral-current neutrino-nucleus (NC-νA) scattering process due to the similarity of the transition operators. NC-νA-scattering serves for the detection of supernova neutrinos and poses a significant source of background in modern liquid-argon based high-energy neutrino detection experiments. To enable tests of the reliability of predictions for neutrino-nucleus scattering, the magnetic dipole response of Ar40 below 7.7 MeV was characterized in a nuclear resonance fluorescence experiment using quasimonoenergetic γ-ray beams. The linear polarization of the beams allowed for assignments of electric or magnetic character to previously known dipole excitations. A total magnetic dipole strength of 0.36-0.05+0.04μN2 was identified in the energy range of the present experiment. Combined with data from previous measurements, the full magnetic dipole strength of Ar40 below the neutron separation threshold was investigated. Due to the low background in the energy range within the bandwidth of the γ-ray beams, the previous sensitivity limit was improved. A large-scale nuclear shell model calculation in the sd-fp space satisfactorily agrees with the data in terms of excitation energies and strengths of the observed 1+ states.