NEUTRINO SEMINAR:The role of neutrons in searches for neutrinoless double-beta decay and beyond
This event is part of the Departmental Seminars.
This talk will cover three recent examples where a careful understanding of neutron interactions can lead to improved measurements of neutrinos. First, we present recent results from the EXO-200 neutrinoless double-beta decay (0νββ) experiment. The backgrounds from cosmogenic neutrons have been studied in detail, leading to a technique to use neutron capture signals to reject these backgrounds from future data, improving sensitivity. Second, the addition of gadolinium to Super-Kamiokande will allow for major improvements to supernova neutrino detection, using neutron capture to reduce backgrounds and to distinguish between neutrinos and anti-neutrinos. Finally, calibration for the next-generation 0νββ experiment, nEXO, is complicated by the self-shielding against gamma rays which is a huge asset as a low-background detector. We explore how a neutron source may allow for calibration in ways unattainable with traditional gamma sources.