Measurement of the Gamma Ray Background in the Davis Cavern at the Sanford Underground Research Facility

J. Yin, The LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) Collaboration, et al.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Deep underground environments are ideal for low background searches due to the attenuation of cosmic rays by passage through the earth. However, they are affected by backgrounds from $\gamma$-rays emitted by $^{40}$K and the $^{238}$U and $^{232}$Th decay chains in the surrounding rock. The LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment will search for dark matter particle interactions with a liquid xenon TPC located within the Davis campus at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, Lead, South Dakota, at the 4,850-foot level. In order to characterise the cavern background, in-situ $\gamma$-ray measurements were taken with a sodium iodide detector in various locations and with lead shielding. The integral count rates (0--3300~keV) varied from 596~Hz to 1355~Hz for unshielded measurements, corresponding to a total flux in the cavern of $1.9\pm0.4$~$\gamma~$cm$^{-2}$s$^{-1}$. The resulting activity in the walls of the cavern can be characterised as $220\pm60$~Bq/kg of $^{40}$K, $29\pm15$~Bq/kg of $^{238}$U, and $13\pm3$~Bq/kg of $^{232}$Th.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102391
Number of pages10
JournalAstroparticle Physics, Volume
Volume116
Issue number102391
Early online date4 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • dark matter
  • low background
  • radiation
  • underground
  • gamma rays
  • gamma spectroscopy

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