WG2 Optical Systems for Liquid Argon TPC Detectors

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Mr Benjamin Jones (MIT)


The MicroBooNE experiment is a 170 ton scale liquid argon TPC detector which will run in the booster neutrino beam at Fermilab, starting in 2013. As well as a TPC system which will perform high resolution 3D tracking using ionization charge deposits in the argon bulk, the MicroBooNE experiment incorporates an optical system to measure scintillation light production. The optical system consists of 30 photomultiplier tubes mounted behind acrylic plates, which are coated by a wavelength shifting film. 128nm scintillation light, which is a byproduct of the ionization process, can thus be detected by the system. There are multiple benefits to incorporating an optical system into an LArTPC detector. It can be used as an effective trigger, since the data rate and channel count is low, and noise in the PMT system is likely to be uncorrelated with noise in the TPC system. Charge drift in a TPC is slow whereas scintillation light propagation is fast, thus an accurate event time and position in the drift direction can be determined, the former being of particular importance in a pulsed beam like the Booster. And finally, the nontrivial time structure of scintillation production can, in some cases, be used to augment the particle identification capabilities of the TPC based event reconstruction methods. I will discuss the current status of both the PMT assembly hardware and the supporting software algorithms which have been developed for MicroBooNE, and mention their relevance to future liquid argon TPC detectors.

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