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Title: Research and development toward massive liquid argon time projection chambers for neutrino detection
Author: Thiesse, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 7466
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Liquid argon (LAr) time projection chambers (TPC) have rapidly increased in importance as particle detectors throughout the past four decades. While much research has been completed, there are still many areas which require further development to build and operate the next generation LAr TPC experiment, such as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). These include high voltage breakdown, argon purification and purity monitoring, and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) scintillation light measurement. Visual monitoring of high voltage breakdown is helpful in allowing assessment of the performance of high voltage component design. Thus, a system of cryogenic cameras, the first of its kind, was developed for use in a large LAr cryostat, without the need for additional electronics heating. The system functioned without problem for 50 days at cryogenic temperature, with some degradation of image quality, and provided a useful monitor for the DUNE 35-ton cryogenics systems. The system did not observe any high voltage breakdowns during the run. Further development of the concept is ongoing for future installation in other experiments. The monitoring of LAr purity using TPC data is a fundamental study for LAr TPC experiments. However, the study has not been performed for a large LAr TPC in the presence of high electronic noise. Custom software was developed and validated for the accurate reconstruction of signals in noisy TPC data. The results of the reconstruction were used to successfully measure the LAr electron lifetime with an uncertainty comparable to alternate methods of measurement. The electron lifetime of the 35-ton Phase II run is determined to be $4.12\pm0.17$~(stat.)~$\pm0.40$~(syst.)~ms. For general purpose research and development of high purity LAr as a particle detection medium, a dedicated test stand was designed, constructed, and commissioned. The system is used to test the gaseous photomultiplier (GPM) performance at cryogenic temperatures. The GPM functions with photoelectron multiplication at 77~K, at a reduced gain. Further study is required to show the detector's direct sensitivity to LAr VUV scintillation light.
Supervisor: Spooner, Neil J. C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available