Special Issue "Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events"

A special issue of Physics (ISSN 2624-8174). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Vincenzo Caracciolo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Physics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", 00133 Rome, Italy
2. INFN, sez. Roma “Tor Vergata”, I-00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: physics; dark matter; double beta decay; rare events; astroparticle physics; underground physics; crystal detectors
Prof. Dr. Rita Bernabei
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Physics, Tor Vergata University of Rome; 00133 Rome, Italy
2. Istituto Nazionale Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Section of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: nuclear and subnuclear physics; astroparticle physics; underground physics; detectors developments
Dr. Pierluigi Belli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Istituto Nazionale Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Section of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy
2. Department of Physics, Tor Vergata University of Rome; 00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: physics; underground and high energy physics; astroparticle physics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Crystal scintillators are one the most useful and effective tool for the detection and spectroscopy of a wide variety of radiations. The continuous development of their performances allows applications in many challenging research fields. In fact, crystal scintillators are fundamental instruments to study most important problems in in particle and nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Further to this, when the radio-purity of such detectors is an additional requirement, their use in the investigation of rare processes becomes extremely competitive. Moreover, the possibility of significant enrichments in some specific isotopes strongly enlarges the applications for the investigation of several rare processes, such as dark matter candidates of various natures, ββ decay modes, rare nuclear decay modes, solar axions, electron stability, matter stability, search for exotic particles in cosmic rays, etc.
The aim of this Special Issue is to collect contributions for a suitable discussion on the performances and developments of crystal scintillators for rare events. The scope is to describe in some detail the state of the art of crystal scintillator spectroscopy for rare events, results, and perspectives. We invite original research articles and reviews on the above-described topics to contribute to this Special Issue.

Dr. Vincenzo Caracciolo
Prof. Dr. Rita Bernabei
Dr. Pierluigi Belli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Crystal scintillators
  • Rare events
  • Astroparticle physics
  • Double beta decay
  • Dark matter
  • Rare alpha and beta decay
  • Detectors
  • Underground physics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Sensitivity of Solid-Scintillator Detectors to Dark Matter
Physics 2021, 3(1), 128-143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/physics3010011 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 705
Abstract
This paper shortly reviews the sensitivities that can be achieved to unambiguously point out the presence of a signal of Galactic origin in dark matter experiments with solid-scintillator detectors. Examples of the experimental sensitivities obtained by exploiting the annual and diurnal modulation signatures [...] Read more.
This paper shortly reviews the sensitivities that can be achieved to unambiguously point out the presence of a signal of Galactic origin in dark matter experiments with solid-scintillator detectors. Examples of the experimental sensitivities obtained by exploiting the annual and diurnal modulation signatures are reported with particular regard to the investigations performed in the framework of the DAMA Collaboration. The directionality approach in solid scintillators is also presented and, in particular, the perspectives of the ADAMO project are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events)
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Review

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Review
Scintillation in Low-Temperature Particle Detectors
Physics 2021, 3(3), 473-535; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/physics3030032 - 01 Jul 2021
Viewed by 637
Abstract
Inorganic crystal scintillators play a crucial role in particle detection for various applications in fundamental physics and applied science. The use of such materials as scintillating bolometers, which operate at temperatures as low as 10 mK and detect both heat (phonon) and scintillation [...] Read more.
Inorganic crystal scintillators play a crucial role in particle detection for various applications in fundamental physics and applied science. The use of such materials as scintillating bolometers, which operate at temperatures as low as 10 mK and detect both heat (phonon) and scintillation signals, significantly extends detectors performance compared to the conventional scintillation counters. In particular, such low-temperature devices offer a high energy resolution in a wide energy interval thanks to a phonon signal detection, while a simultaneous registration of scintillation emitted provides an efficient particle identification tool. This feature is of great importance for a background identification and rejection. Combined with a large variety of elements of interest, which can be embedded in crystal scintillators, scintillating bolometers represent powerful particle detectors for rare-event searches (e.g., rare alpha and beta decays, double-beta decay, dark matter particles, neutrino detection). Here, we review the features and results of low-temperature scintillation detection achieved over a 30-year history of developments of scintillating bolometers and their use in rare-event search experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events)
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Review
Novel Cs2HfCl6 Crystal Scintillator: Recent Progress and Perspectives
Physics 2021, 3(2), 320-351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/physics3020023 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 479
Abstract
Recent progress in Cs2HfCl6 (CHC) crystal production achieved within the last five years is presented. Various aspects have been analyzed, including the chemical purity of raw materials, purification methods, optimization of the growth and thermal conditions, crystal characterization, defect structure, [...] Read more.
Recent progress in Cs2HfCl6 (CHC) crystal production achieved within the last five years is presented. Various aspects have been analyzed, including the chemical purity of raw materials, purification methods, optimization of the growth and thermal conditions, crystal characterization, defect structure, and internal radioactive background. Large volume, crack-free, and high quality CHC crystals with an ultimate scintillating performance were produced as a result of such extensive research and development (R & D) program. For example, the CHC crystal sample with dimensions ∅23 × 30 mm3 demonstrates energy resolution of 3.2% FWHM at 662 keV, the relative light output at the level of 30,000 ph/MeV and excellent linearity down to 20 keV. Additionally, this material exhibits excellent pulse shape discrimination ability and low internal background of less than 1 Bq/kg. Furthermore, attempts to produce a high quality CHC crystal resulted in research on this material optimization by constitution of either alkali ions (Cs to Tl), or main element (Hf to Zr), or halogen ions (Cl to Br, I, or their mixture in different ratio), as well as doping with various active ions (Te4+, Ce3+, Eu3+, etc.). This leads to a range of new established scintillating materials, such as Tl2HfCl6, Tl2ZrCl6, Cs2HfCl4Br2, Cs2HfCl3Br3, Cs2ZrCl6, and Cs2HfI6. To exploit the whole potential of these compounds, detailed studies of the material’s fundamental properties, and understanding of the variety of the luminescence mechanisms are required. This will help to understand the origin of the high light yield and possible paths to further extend it. Perspectives of CHC crystals and related materials as detectors for rare nuclear processes are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events)
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Review
Techniques for Background Identification in the Search for Rare Processes with Crystal Scintillators
Physics 2021, 3(2), 187-206; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/physics3020015 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 569
Abstract
In astroparticle, nuclear and subnuclear physics, low-counting experiments play an increasingly important role in the investigation of rare processes such as dark matter, double beta decay, some neutrino processes and low-background spectrometry. Extremely low-background features are more and more required to produce detectors [...] Read more.
In astroparticle, nuclear and subnuclear physics, low-counting experiments play an increasingly important role in the investigation of rare processes such as dark matter, double beta decay, some neutrino processes and low-background spectrometry. Extremely low-background features are more and more required to produce detectors and apparata of suitable sensitivity. Over time, a great deal of interest and attention in developing experimental techniques suitable to improve, verify and maintain the radiopurity of these detectors has arisen. In this paper, the characterization of inorganic crystal scintillators (such as, e.g., NaI(Tl), ZnWO4 and CdWO4) using α, β and γ radioactive sources and the main experimental techniques applied in the field to quantitatively identify the radioactive contaminants are highlighted; in particular, we focus on inorganic crystal scintillators, widely used in rare processes investigation, considering their applications at noncryogenic temperatures in the framework of the DAMA experiment activities at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory of the INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics, INFN). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events)
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Review
Enriched Crystal Scintillators for 2β Experiments
Physics 2021, 3(1), 103-118; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/physics3010009 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 744
Abstract
The investigation of 2β decay is an important issue in modern physics, allowing the test of the Standard Model of elementary particles and the study of the nature and properties of neutrinos. The crystal scintillators, especially made of isotopically-enriched materials, are powerful detectors [...] Read more.
The investigation of 2β decay is an important issue in modern physics, allowing the test of the Standard Model of elementary particles and the study of the nature and properties of neutrinos. The crystal scintillators, especially made of isotopically-enriched materials, are powerful detectors for 2β decay experiments thanks to the high radiopurity level and the possibility to realize the calorimetric “source = detector” approach with a high detection efficiency. For the moment, the 2ν2β processes have been observed at the level of 1019–1024 years with enriched crystals; the sensitivity to the 0ν mode have reached the level of 1024–1026 years in some decay channels for different nuclides allowing one to calculate the upper limits on the effective mass of the Majorana neutrino at the level of 0.1–0.6 eV. The paper is intended to be a review on the latest results to investigate 2β processes with crystal scintillators enriched in 48Ca, 106Cd, and 116Cd. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events)
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Review
Material Screening with Mass Spectrometry
Physics 2021, 3(1), 71-84; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/physics3010007 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 846
Abstract
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique. Because of its sensitivity, accuracy, multielement capability, high throughput, rapid analysis times and low detection limits, it is able to determine simultaneously long-lived radionuclides at trace and ultra-trace levels as well as isotope [...] Read more.
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique. Because of its sensitivity, accuracy, multielement capability, high throughput, rapid analysis times and low detection limits, it is able to determine simultaneously long-lived radionuclides at trace and ultra-trace levels as well as isotope ratios. It has been increasingly applied in the framework of rare events experiments like those investigating the nature of dark matter and neutrinos, where the screening and selection of extremely radiopure materials for the experimental apparatus is crucial. Here, the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) measurements of the chemical purity of a Cs2HfCl6 crystal scintillator used to study α decay of naturally occurring Hf isotopes and its own raw materials are reported. Moreover, in the framework of the GERDA/LEGEND experiment, an overview of the ICP-MS results to monitor the recycling process of enriched germanium scraps is shown. Significant outcomes, such as low detection limits despite the small amount of sample to analyze and fast ICP-MS results, have been achieved in response to the challenges required by modern low background experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Spectroscopy with Solid Scintillators for Rare Events)
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