B. D. LaFerriere

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Ричленд, Washington, United States

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Publications (33)

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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A search for Pauli-exclusion-principle-violating K-alpha electron transitions was performed using 89.5 kg-d of data collected with a p-type point contact high-purity germanium detector operated at the Kimballton Underground Research Facility. A lower limit on the transition lifetime of 5.8x10^30 seconds at 90% C.L. was set by looking for a peak at 10.6 keV resulting from the x-ray and Auger electrons present following the transition. A similar analysis was done to look for the decay of atomic K-shell electrons into neutrinos, resulting in a lower limit of 6.8x10^30 seconds at 90 C.L. It is estimated that the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, a 44 kg array of p-type point contact detectors that will search for the neutrinoless double-beta decay of 76-Ge, could improve upon these exclusion limits by an order of magnitude after three years of operation.
    Full-text available · Article · Oct 2016 · European Physical Journal C
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Majorana Collaboration is constructing the Majorana Demonstrator, an ultra-low background, 44-kg modular high-purity Ge (HPGe) detector array to search for neutrinoless double-beta decay in 76Ge. The phenomenon of surface micro-discharge induced by high-voltage has been studied in the context of the Majorana Demonstrator. This effect can damage the front-end electronics or mimic detector signals. To ensure the correct performance, every high-voltage cable and feedthrough must be capable of supplying HPGe detector operating voltages as high as 5 kV without exhibiting discharge. R&D measurements were carried out to understand the testing system and determine the optimum design configuration of the high-voltage path, including different improvements of the cable layout and feedthrough flange model selection. Every cable and feedthrough to be used at the Majorana Demonstrator was characterized and the micro-discharge effects during the Majorana Demonstrator commissioning phase were studied. A stable configuration has been achieved, and the cables and connectors can supply HPGe detector operating voltages without exhibiting discharge.
    Full-text available · Article · Jul 2016 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the first measurement of the total MUON flux underground at the Davis Campus of the Sanford Underground Research Facility at the 4850 ft level. Measurements were done with the Majorana Demonstrator veto system arranged in two different configurations. The measured total flux is (5.04+/-0.16) x 10^-9 muons/s/cm^2.
    Full-text available · Article · Feb 2016
  • Martin Mathews · B. D. LaFerriere · L. R. Pederson · E. W. Hoppe
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fabrication of high-purity iridium electrodes using electrochemical deposition was performed to produce anodes used to assay ultrapure copper for extremely low uranium and thorium contamination primarily in support of the Majorana collaboration. High-purity iridium was deposited using a low current density under a constant voltage to produce a smooth film over a micron thick. The current efficiency was 23 % using an electrolyte of 40 mM IrCl3·4H2O, and H2SO4 employing polished iridium wires as electrodes at an elevated temperature of 80 °C. The electrodes can be converted to iridium oxide with different oxidation states by heating them in air for various periods.
    Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA collaboration is constructing the MAJORANA DEMONSTATOR at the Sanford Underground Research Facility at the Homestake gold mine, in Lead, SD. The apparatus will use Ge detectors, enriched in isotope \nuc{76}{Ge}, to demonstrate the feasibility of a large-scale Ge detector experiment to search for neutrinoless double beta decay. The long half-life of this postulated process requires that the apparatus be extremely low in radioactive isotopes whose decays may produce backgrounds to the search. The radioassay program conducted by the collaboration to ensure that the materials comprising the apparatus are sufficiently pure is described. The resulting measurements of the radioactive-isotope contamination for a number of materials studied for use in the detector are reported.
    Full-text available · Article · Jan 2016 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will search for the neutrinoless double beta decay (ββ(0ν)) of the isotope 76Ge with a mixed array of enriched and natural germanium detectors. In view of the next generation of tonne-scale germanium-based ββ(0ν)-decay searches, a major goal of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is to demonstrate a path forward to achieving a background rate at or below 1 cnt/(ROI-t-y) in the 4 keV region of interest (ROI) around the 2039-keV Q-value of the 76Ge ββ(0ν)-decay. Such a requirement on the background level significantly constrains the design of the readout electronics, which is further driven by noise and energy resolution performances. We present here the low-noise low- background front-end electronics developed for the low-capacitance p-type point contact (P-PC) germanium detectors of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. This resistive-feedback front-end, specifically designed to have low mass, is fabricated on a radioassayed fused-silica substrate where the feedback resistor consists of a sputtered thin film of high purity amorphous germanium and the feedback capacitor is based on the capacitance between gold conductive traces.
    Full-text available · Article · Dec 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will search for neutrinoless-double-beta decay (0νββ) in 76Ge, while establishing the feasibility of a future tonne-scale germanium-based 0νββ experiment, and performing searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model. The experiment, currently under construction at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, SD, will consist of a pair of modular high-purity germanium detector arrays housed inside of a compact copper, lead, and polyethylene shield. Through a combination of strict materials qualifications and assay, low-background design, and powerful background rejection techniques, the Demonstrator aims to achieve a background rate in the 0νββ region of interest (ROI) of no more than 3 counts in the 0νββ-decay ROI per tonne of target isotope per year (cnts/(ROI-t-y)). The current status of the Demonstrator is discussed, as are plans for its completion.
    Full-text available · Article · Dec 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Argon-37 is an environmental signature of an underground nuclear explosion. Producing and quantifying low-level 37Ar standards is an important step in the development of sensitive field measurement instruments. This paper describes progress at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in developing a process to generate and quantify low-level 37Ar standards, which can be used to calibrate sensitive field systems at activities consistent with soil background levels. This paper presents a discussion of the measurement analysis, along with assumptions and uncertainty estimates.
    Full-text available · Article · Dec 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA Collaboration is constructing the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, an ultra-low background, modular, HPGe detector array with a mass of 44-kg (29 kg 76 Ge and 15 kg nat Ge) to search for neutrinoless double beta decay in 76 Ge. The next generation of tonne-scale Ge-based neutrinoless double beta decay searches will probe the neutrino mass scale in the inverted-hierarchy region. The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is envisioned to demonstrate a path forward to achieve a background rate at or below 1 count/tonne/year in the 4 keV region of interest around the Q-value of 2039 keV. The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR follows a modular implementation to be easily scalable to the next generation experiment. First, the prototype module was assembled; it has been continuously taking data from July 2014 to June 2015. Second, Module 1 with more than half of the total enriched detectors and some natural detectors has been assembled and it is being commissioned. Finally, the assembly of Module 2, which will complete MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, is already in progress.
    Article · Aug 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA Collaboration is constructing the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, an ultra-low background, 40-kg modular HPGe detector array to search for neutrinoless double beta decay in 76Ge. In view of the next generation of tonne-scale Ge-based 0nbb-decay searches that will probe the neutrino mass scale in the inverted-hierarchy region, a major goal of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is to demonstrate a path forward to achieving a background rate at or below 1 count/tonne/year in the 4 keV region of interest around the Q-value at 2039 keV. The background rejection techniques to be applied to the data include cuts based on data reduction, pulse shape analysis, event coincidences, and time correlations. The Point Contact design of the DEMONSTRATOR 0s germanium detectors allows for significant reduction of gamma background.
    Article · Jun 2015
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    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2015 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
  • B.D. LaFerriere · T.C. Maiti · I.J. Arnquist · E.W. Hoppe
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study describes a novel sample preparation and assay method developed, primarily in support of the Majorana Demonstrator neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment, for the determination of extremely low levels of Th and U in copper and lead shielding components. Meticulously clean sample preparation methods combined with anion exchange separations for analyte pre-concentration and matrix removal were developed. Quantification was performed by isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Detection limits of 0.0084 pg 232Th/g (0.034 µBq 232Th/kg) and 0.0106 pg 238U/g (0.131 µBq 238U/kg) were determined for copper, while detection limits of 0.23 pg 232Th/g (0.94 µBq 232Th/kg) and 0.46 pg 238U/g (5.7 µBq 238U/kg) were achieved for lead. These methods allow the Majorana Collaboration to accurately assay detector components and ensure that the experiment׳s stringent radiopurity requirements are met.
    Article · Mar 2015 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is a planned 40 kg array of Germanium detectors intended to demonstrate the feasibility of constructing a tonne-scale experiment that will seek neutrinoless double beta decay ($0\nu\beta\beta$) in $^{76}\mathrm{Ge}$. Such an experiment would require backgrounds of less than 1 count/tonne-year in the 4 keV region of interest around the 2039 keV Q-value of the $\beta\beta$ decay. Designing low-noise electronics, which must be placed in close proximity to the detectors, presents a challenge to reaching this background target. This paper will discuss the MAJORANA collaboration's solutions to some of these challenges.
    Full-text available · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Physics Conference Series
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of the \textsc{Majorana} \textsc{Demonstrator} project is to search for 0$\nu\beta\beta$ decay in $^{76}\mathrm{Ge}$. Of all candidate isotopes for 0$\nu\beta\beta$, $^{76}\mathrm{Ge}$ has some of the most favorable characteristics. Germanium detectors are a well established technology, and in searches for 0$\nu\beta\beta$, the high purity germanium crystal acts simultaneously as source and detector. Furthermore, p-type germanium detectors provide excellent energy resolution and a specially designed point contact geometry allows for sensitive pulse shape discrimination. This paper will summarize the experiences the \textsc{Majorana} collaboration made with enriched germanium detectors manufactured by ORTEC$^{\circledR}$. The process from production, to characterization and integration in \textsc{Majorana} mounting structure will be described. A summary of the performance of all enriched germanium detectors will be given.
    Full-text available · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Physics Conference Series
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Majorana Demonstrator is an ultra-low background physics experiment searching for the neutrinoless double beta decay of $^{76}$Ge. The Majorana Parts Tracking Database is used to record the history of components used in the construction of the Demonstrator. The tracking implementation takes a novel approach based on the schema-free database technology CouchDB. Transportation, storage, and processes undergone by parts such as machining or cleaning are linked to part records. Tracking parts provides a great logistics benefit and an important quality assurance reference during construction. In addition, the location history of parts provides an estimate of their exposure to cosmic radiation. A web application for data entry and a radiation exposure calculator have been developed as tools for achieving the extreme radio-purity required for this rare decay search.
    Full-text available · Article · Feb 2015 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is an array of natural and enriched high purity germanium detectors that will search for the neutrinoless double-beta decay of 76-Ge and perform a search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) with masses below 10 GeV. As part of the MAJORANA research and development efforts, we have deployed a modified, low-background broad energy germanium detector at the Kimballton Underground Research Facility. With its sub-keV energy threshold, this detector is sensitive to potential non-Standard Model physics, including interactions with WIMPs. We discuss the backgrounds present in the WIMP region of interest and explore the impact of slow surface event contamination when searching for a WIMP signal.
    Full-text available · Article · Jul 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Majorana Collaboration is constructing a system containing 40 kg of HPGe detectors to demonstrate the feasibility and potential of a future tonne-scale experiment capable of probing the neutrino mass scale in the inverted-hierarchy region. To realize this, a major goal of the Majorana Demonstrator is to demonstrate a path forward to achieving a background rate at or below 1 cnt/(ROI-t-y) in the 4 keV region of interest around the Q-value at 2039 keV. This goal is pursued through a combination of a significant reduction of radioactive impurities in construction materials with analytical methods for background rejection, for example using powerful pulse shape analysis techniques profiting from the p-type point contact HPGe detectors technology. The effectiveness of these methods is assessed using simulations of the different background components whose purity levels are constrained from radioassay measurements.
    Full-text available · Article · May 2014
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    W. Xu · N. Abgrall · E. Aguayo · [...] · V. Yumatov
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High purity germanium (HPGe) crystals will be used for the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, where they serve as both the source and the detector for neutrinoless double beta decay. It is crucial for the experiment to understand the performance of the HPGe crystals. A variety of crystal properties are being investigated, including basic properties such as energy resolution, efficiency, uniformity, capacitance, leakage current and crystal axis orientation, as well as more sophisticated properties, e.g. pulse shapes and dead layer and transition layer distributions. In this paper, we will present our measurements that characterize the HPGe crystals. We will also discuss our simulation package for the detector characterization setup, and show that additional information can be extracted from data-simulation comparisons.
    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A low-background, high-purity germanium detector has been used to search for evidence of low-energy, bremsstrahlung-generated solar axions. An upper bound of $1.36\times 10^{-11}$ $(95% CL)$ is placed on the direct coupling of DFSZ model axions to electrons. The prospects for the sensitivity of the Majorana Demonstrator array of point-contact germanium detectors to solar axions are discussed in the context of the model-independent annual modulation due to the seasonal variation of the earth-sun distance.
    Full-text available · Article · Mar 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MAJORANA Collaboration is constructing the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, an ultra-low background, modular, HPGe detector array with a mass of 44-kg (29 kg 76Ge and 15 kg natGe) to search for neutrinoless double beta decay in Ge-76. The next generation of tonne-scale Ge-based neutrinoless double beta decay searches will probe the neutrino mass scale in the inverted-hierarchy region. The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR is envisioned to demonstrate a path forward to achieve a background rate at or below 1 count/tonne/year in the 4 keV region of interest around the Q-value of 2039 keV. The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR follows a modular implementation to be easily scalable to the next generation experiment. First, the prototype module was assembled; it has been continuously taking data from July 2014 to June 2015. Second, Module 1 with more than half of the total enriched detectors and some natural detectors has been assembled and it is being commissioned. Finally, the assembly of Module 2, which will complete MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, is already in progress.
    Full-text available · Article · Nov 2013 · AIP Conference Proceedings