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Development and Testing of a Detector to Study Neutrino Oscillations at Palo Verde


Cook, Brian M. (1996) Development and Testing of a Detector to Study Neutrino Oscillations at Palo Verde. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/814k-vr34.


A detector for the study of neutrino oscillations with a projected sensitivity to Δm² of 10⁻³ eV² and to sin²2θ of 0.1 is described. It is to be installed 800 m from three pressurized water reactors at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station near Phoenix, Arizona. The detector is segmented and filled with 12 tons of gadolinium-loaded liquid scintillator. It will be placed in an underground vault with an overburden of 46 mwe and surrounded by a 1-m-thick water buffer and a hermetic active muon veto. Reactor antineutrinos are detected through proton inverse β decay in the hydrogen-rich scintillator, and the resulting positrons are discriminated from fast neutron background by requiring a prompt coincidence across several cells between the positron and its annihilation radiation.

Test results from prototype detector elements are presented showing excellent stability of the scintillator and acrylic target cells. A method of calibrating the positron detection efficiency is described in detail, and results of a prototype experiment using a small-scale detector are presented. The results of a full-detector Monte Carlo simulation, based on the CERN and Oak Ridge packages GEANT and GCALOR, are discussed: anticipated backgrounds due to natural radioactivity and to fast neutrons are described in detail.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Boehm, Felix H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Boehm, Felix H. (chair)
  • McKeown, Robert D.
  • Porter, Frank C.
  • Vogel, Petr
Defense Date:13 May 1996
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:12222020-035315423
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14039
Deposited By: Mel Ray
Deposited On:22 Dec 2020 17:47
Last Modified:22 Dec 2020 21:39

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