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Liquid xenon scintillation measurements and pulse shape discrimination in the LUX dark matter detector

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  • D. S. Akerib
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  • X. Bai
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  • J. Balajthy
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  • A. Fan
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  • J. Genovesi
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  • U. Utku
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  • J. R. Verbus
  • R. C. Webb
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Original languageEnglish
Article number112002
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2018


Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are a leading candidate for dark matter and are expected to produce nuclear recoil (NR) events within liquid xenon time-projection chambers. We present a measurement of the scintillation timing characteristics of liquid xenon in the LUX dark matter detector and develop a pulse shape discriminant to be used for particle identification. To accurately measure the timing characteristics, we develop a template-fitting method to reconstruct the detection times of photons. Analyzing calibration data collected during the 2013–2016 LUX WIMP search, we provide a new measurement of the singlet-to-triplet scintillation ratio for electron recoils (ER) below 46 keV, and we make, to our knowledge, a first-ever measurement of the NR singlet-to-triplet ratio at recoil energies below 74 keV. We exploit the difference of the photon time spectra for NR and ER events by using a prompt fraction discrimination parameter, which is optimized using calibration data to have the least number of ER events that occur in a 50% NR acceptance region. We then demonstrate how this discriminant can be used in conjunction with the charge-to-light discrimination to possibly improve the signal-to-noise ratio for nuclear recoils.

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