Reducing nuclear reaction background uncertainties in large mass neutrino detectors

Author: Janet Weikel

Deboer 13can News

Dr. James deBoer (UND) and Dr. Michael Febbraro (ORNL) have recently lead a research initiative to make new measurements of the 13C(a,n)16O reaction at energies relevant for background simulations for large volume neutrino experiments. These new measurements were made possible by pairing the Notre Dame Nuclear Science Laboratory’s new high current Sta. ANA accelerator with state-of-the-art deuterated liquid scintillation detectors recently developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The measured cross sections were found to be quite different from those estimated in the nuclear data evaluation, which were calculated using rough theoretical approximations due to the previous lack of experimental data. These results are being used to re-analyze previous neutrino measurements and improve background estimates in future ones. The results have been recently published in Physical Review Letters.