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Hybrid Ultra-Low-Radioactive Material for Protecting Dark Matter Detector from Background Neutrons

1
Department of Chemistry and Technology of Crystals, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology, 125047 Moscow, Russia
2
Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119234 Moscow, Russia
3
Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, 141980 Dubna, Russia
4
Department of Engineering Material Science, Belgorod State National Research University, 308015 Belgorod, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bicai Pan
Materials 2021, 14(13), 3757; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14133757
Received: 17 May 2021 / Revised: 20 June 2021 / Accepted: 30 June 2021 / Published: 5 July 2021
A laboratory technology for a new ultra-low background hybrid material (HM) which meets the requirements for neutron absorption with simultaneous neutron detection has been developed. The technology and hybrid material can be useful for future low background underground detectors designed to directly search for dark matter with liquid noble gases. The HM is based on a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) polymer matrix in which gadolinium nuclei are homogeneously distributed up to 1.5 wt% concentration in polymer slabs of 5 cm thickness. To determine the 65 impurity elements by the inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry (ICP-MS) technique in the Gd-based preparations in 100–0.01 ppb range, the corresponding method has been developed. Limits of determination (LD) of 0.011 ppb for uranium, and 0.016 ppb for thorium were achieved. An analysis of Gd raw materials showed that the lowest contents of U and Th (1.2–0.2 ppb) were detected in commercial Gd-based preparations. They were manufactured either from secondary raw materials (extraction phosphoric acid) or from mineral raw materials formed in sedimentary rocks (phosphogypsum). To produce the Gd-doped HM the commercial GdCl3 was purified and used for synthesis of low-background coordination compound, namely, acetylacetonate gadolinium (Gd(acac)3) with U/Th contents less than LD. When dissolving Gd(acac)3 in methylmethacrylate, the true solution was obtained and its further thermal polymerization allowed fabrication of the Gd-doped PMMA with ultra-low background. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymethylmethacrylate; gadolinium; uranium; thorium; hybrid material; inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; low-radioactivity; dark matter; neutron background polymethylmethacrylate; gadolinium; uranium; thorium; hybrid material; inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; low-radioactivity; dark matter; neutron background
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zykova, M.; Grishechkin, M.; Khomyakov, A.; Mozhevitina, E.; Avetisov, R.; Surikova, N.; Gromov, M.; Chepurnov, A.; Nikulin, I.; Avetissov, I. Hybrid Ultra-Low-Radioactive Material for Protecting Dark Matter Detector from Background Neutrons. Materials 2021, 14, 3757. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14133757

AMA Style

Zykova M, Grishechkin M, Khomyakov A, Mozhevitina E, Avetisov R, Surikova N, Gromov M, Chepurnov A, Nikulin I, Avetissov I. Hybrid Ultra-Low-Radioactive Material for Protecting Dark Matter Detector from Background Neutrons. Materials. 2021; 14(13):3757. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14133757

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zykova, Marina, Mikhail Grishechkin, Andrew Khomyakov, Elena Mozhevitina, Roman Avetisov, Nadezda Surikova, Maxim Gromov, Alexander Chepurnov, Ivan Nikulin, and Igor Avetissov. 2021. "Hybrid Ultra-Low-Radioactive Material for Protecting Dark Matter Detector from Background Neutrons" Materials 14, no. 13: 3757. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14133757

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