Low Background Micromegas in CAST

J G Garza, S. Aune, F. Aznar, D. Calvet, J. F. Castel, Finn Erland Christensen, T Dafni, M Davenport, T. Decker, E. Ferrer-Ribas, Anders Clemen Jakobsen

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Solar axions could be converted into x-rays inside the strong magnetic field of an axion helioscope, triggering the detection of this elusive particle. Low background x-ray detectors are an essential component for the sensitivity of these searches. We report on the latest developments of the Micromegas detectors for the CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST), including technological pathfinder activities for the future International Axion Observatory (IAXO). The use of low background techniques and the application of discrimination algorithms based on the high granularity of the readout have led to background levels below 10−6 counts/keV/cm2/s, more than a factor 100 lower than the first generation of Micromegas detectors. The best levels achieved at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory (LSC) are as low as 10−7 counts/keV/cm2/s, showing good prospects for the application of this technology in IAXO. The current background model, based on underground and surface measurements, is presented, as well as the strategies to further reduce the background level. Finally, we will describe the R&D paths to achieve sub-keV energy thresholds, which could broaden the physics case of axion helioscopes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Symposium on “Large TPCs for Low-Energy Rare Event Detection”
Number of pages6
Publication date2014
Article number012008
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event7th International Symposium on “Large TPCs for Low-Energy Rare Event Detection” - Paris, France
Duration: 15 Dec 201417 Dec 2014


Conference7th International Symposium on “Large TPCs for Low-Energy Rare Event Detection”
SeriesJournal of Physics: Conference Series (Online)


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