Optimisation of light collection in inorganic scintillators for rare event searches
Inorganic scintillators are playing an ever increasing role in the search for rare events. Progress in the use of cryogenic phonon-scintillation detectors (CPSD) has allowed for a rapid increase in sensitivity and resolution of experiments using this technique. It is likely that CPSD will be used in future dark matter searches with multiple scintillator materials. Further improvements in the performance of CPSD can be expected if the amount of light collected is increased. In this thesis, two approaches are used to look at ways of maximising the amount of light collected in CPSD modules. The first approach is to obtain a detailed understanding of the spectroscopic properties in the crystal to identify ways of increasing their scintillation intensity. The second is to simulate the light collection properties using a Monte-Carlo simulation program. This requires a detailed understanding of the optical properties of inorganic scintillators and obtaining this information is the focus of the current work. Two new methods have been developed to evaluate the scintillation decay time and the intrinsic light yield of scintillators. These methods are tested on CRESST CaWO4 crystals so that all the input parameters necessary for the simulation of CRESST modules is available. These input parameters are used to successfully explain features of the light collection in CRESST CPSD modules and to suggest possible improvements to the design of the modules. In summary, the current work has contributed to the development of a standardised method to maximise the light yield that can be obtained from CPSD for application to rare event searches.