Study of radon reduction in gases for rare event search experiments

TitleStudy of radon reduction in gases for rare event search experiments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPushkin, K, Akerlof, C, Anbajagane, D, Armstrong, J, Arthurs, M, Bringewatt, J, Edberg, T, Hall, C, Lei, M, Raymond, R, Reh, M, Saini, D, Sander, A, Schaefer, J, Seymour, D, Swanson, N, Wang, Y, Lorenzon, W

The noble elements, argon and xenon, are frequently employed as the target and event detector for weakly interacting particles such as neutrinos and Dark Matter. For such rare processes, background radiation must be carefully minimized. Radon provides one of the most significant contaminants since it is an inevitable product of trace amounts of natural uranium. To design a purification system for reducing such contamination, the adsorption characteristics of radon in nitrogen, argon, and xenon carrier gases on various types of charcoals with different adsorbing properties and intrinsic radioactive purities have been studied in the temperature range of 190-295 K at flow rates of 0.5 and 2 standard liters per minute. Essential performance parameters for the various charcoals include the average breakthrough times (τ), dynamic adsorption coefficients (ka) and the number of theoretical stages (n). It is shown that the ka-values for radon in nitrogen, argon, and xenon increase as the temperature of the charcoal traps decreases, and that they are significantly larger in nitrogen and argon than in xenon gas due to adsorption saturation effects. It is found that, unlike in xenon, the dynamic adsorption coefficients for radon in nitrogen and argon strictly obey the Arrhenius law. The experimental results strongly indicate that nitric acid etched Saratech is the best candidate among all used charcoal brands. It allows reducing total radon concentration in the LZ liquid Xe detector to meet the ultimate goal in the search for Dark Matter.