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Gaseous detectors for neutrino physics at the European Spallation Source

Project description

Probing neutrino interactions with smaller, more sensitive detectors

Detecting neutrinos typically requires heavy, large-sized detectors. A recently observed particular interaction of neutrinos with atomic nuclei, called the coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering, could be used to probe neutrinos with smaller-scale experiments. However, observing this interaction requires a source of low-energy neutrinos, and the European Spallation Source in Lund (Sweden) has been identified as optimal in this regard. The EU-funded GanESS project aims to develop a time projection chamber (a particle detector for reconstructing particle trajectories or interactions) that can hold 20 kg of xenon gas at a high pressure. The proposed detector that will be installed in the European Spallation Source is expected to be more sensitive to coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering events.


The recent detection of the coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering (CEnNS) opens the possi- bility of using neutrinos to explore physics beyond the Standard Model deploying small detectors. However, the CEnNS process generates signals at the few keV level, requiring very sensitive detection technologies. The European Spallation Source (ESS) has been identified as an optimal source of low energy neutrinos offering an opportunity to explore at depth the physics of CEnNS, with large discovery potential. In this project, I propose to apply the high-pressure noble gas TPC technology to the detection of the CEnNS process at the ESS. This will require the detection techniques sensitive to very low-energy depositions as well as improving the current knowledge of the quenching factor for nuclear recoils in xenon, argon and neon gas at keV energies. This project proposes the development of a novel detector able to hold 20 kg of xenon gas at high pressure. The device will operate at the ESS, providing more than 7,000 CEnNS events per year, potentially overtaking the sensitivities of much larger detectors in current spallation sources. Operation with xenon will explore most of the possible new physics associated with the CEnNS process. Furthermore, the high pressure technology offers the possibility to operate the same detector with different gases at minimal extra costs, thus providing a unique tool to further explore any signatures of new physics at the ESS.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 496 205,00
Paseo manuel lardizabal 4
20018 Donostia san sebastian

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Noreste País Vasco Gipuzkoa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00