Cosmogenic production of 37Ar in the context of the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment

The LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) Collaboration, J. Aalbers, E.A. Leason, X. Liu, A. St. J. Murphy, A. Nilima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We estimate the amount of 37Ar produced in natural xenon via cosmic ray-induced spallation, an inevitable consequence of the transportation and storage of xenon on the Earth’s surface. We then calculate the resulting 37Ar concentration in a 10-tonne payload (similar to that of the LUXZEPLIN
experiment) assuming a representative schedule of xenon purification, storage and delivery to the underground facility. Using the spallation model by Silberberg and Tsao, the sea level production rate of 37Ar in natural xenon is estimated to be 0.024 atoms/kg/day. Assuming the xenon is successively purified to remove radioactive contaminants in 1-tonne batches at a rate of
1 tonne/month, the average 37Ar activity after 10 tonnes are purified and transported underground is 0.058–0.090 μBq/kg, depending on the degree of argon removal during above-ground purification. Such cosmogenic 37Ar will appear as a noticeable background in the early science data, while decaying with a 35 day half-life. This newly-noticed production mechanism of 37Ar should be
considered when planning for future liquid xenon-based experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number082004
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review D, particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022


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