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Characterization of the LUNA neutron detector array for the measurement of the 13C(alpha,n)16O reaction

Csedreki, L.; Ciani, G. F.; Balibrea-Correa, J.; Best, A.; Aliotta, M.; Barile, F.; Bemmerer, D.; Boeltzig, A.; Broggini, C.; Bruno, C. G.; Caciolli, A.; Cavanna, F.; Chillery, T.; Colombetti, P.; Corvisiero, P.; Davinson, T.; Depalo, R.; Di Leva, A.; Elekes, Z.; Ferraro, F.; Fiore, E. M.; Formicola, A.; Fülöp, Z.; Gervino, G.; Guglielmetti, A.; Gustavino, C.; Gyürky, G.; Imbriani, G.; Janas, Z.; Junker, M.; Kochanek, I.; Lugaro, M.; Marigo, P.; Masha, E.; Mazzocchi, C.; Menegazzo, R.; Mossa, V.; Pantaleo, F. R.; Paticchio, V.; Perrino, R.; Piatti, D.; Prati, P.; Schiavulli, L.; Stöckel, K.; Straniero, O.; Szücs, T.; Takács, M. P.; Terrasi, F.; Zavatarelli, S.

We introduce the LUNA neutron detector array developed for the investigation of the 13C(𝛼, 𝑛)16O reaction towards its astrophysical 𝑠-process Gamow peak in the low-background environment of the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS). Eighteen 3He counters are arranged in two different configurations (in a vertical and a horizontal orientation) to optimize neutron detection efficiency, target handling and target cooling over the investigated energy range E𝛼,lab = 300 − 400 keV (En = 2.2 − 2.6 MeV in emitted neutron energy). As a result of the deep underground location, the passive shielding of the setup and active background suppression using pulse shape discrimination, we reached a total background rate of 1.23 ± 0.12 counts/hour. This resulted in an improvement of two orders of magnitude over the state of the art allowing a direct measurement of the 13C(𝛼, 𝑛)16O cross-section down to E𝛼,lab = 300 keV. The absolute neutron detection efficiency of the setup was determined using the 51V(p,n)51Cr reaction and an AmBe radioactive source, and completed with a Geant4 simulation. We determined a (34 ± 3)% and (38 ± 3)% detection efficiency for the vertical and horizontal configurations, respectively, for En = 2.4 MeV neutrons.

Publ.-Id: 32368