Analysis of Cosmogenic Impurities in Tellurium and Development of Tellurium Loading for the SNO+ Experiment

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Date
2016-08-29
Authors
Miller, Caleb
Keyword
Physics , Tellurium , Acrylic , SNO+
Abstract
For the SNO+ neutrinoless double beta decay search, various backgrounds, ranging from impurities present naturally to those produced cosmogenically, must be understood and reduced. Cosmogenic backgrounds are particularly difficult to reduce as they are continually regenerated while exposed to high energy cosmic rays. To reduce these cosmogenics as much as possible the tellurium used for the neutrinoless double beta decay search will be purified underground. An analysis of the purification factors achievable for insoluble cosmogenic impurities found a reduction factor of $>$20.4 at 50\% C.L.. During the purification process the tellurium will come into contact with ultra pure water and nitric acid. These liquids both carry some cosmogenic impurities with them that could be potentially transferred to the tellurium. A conservative limit is set at $<$18 events in the SNO+ region of interest (ROI) per year as a result of contaminants from these liquids. In addition to cosmogenics brought underground, muons can produce radioactive isotopes while the tellurium is stored underground. A study on the rate at which muons produce these backgrounds finds an additional 1 event per year. In order to load the tellurium into the detector, it will be combined with 1,2-butanediol to form an organometallic complex. The complex was found to have minimal effect on the SNO+ acrylic vessel for 154 years.
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