Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
The CYGNO Experiment
Instruments 2022, 6(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments6010006 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2309
Abstract
The search for a novel technology able to detect and reconstruct nuclear and electron recoil events with the energy of a few keV has become more and more important now that large regions of high-mass dark matter (DM) candidates have been excluded. Moreover, [...] Read more.
The search for a novel technology able to detect and reconstruct nuclear and electron recoil events with the energy of a few keV has become more and more important now that large regions of high-mass dark matter (DM) candidates have been excluded. Moreover, a detector sensitive to incoming particle direction will be crucial in the case of DM discovery to open the possibility of studying its properties. Gaseous time projection chambers (TPC) with optical readout are very promising detectors combining the detailed event information provided by the TPC technique with the high sensitivity and granularity of latest-generation scientific light sensors. The CYGNO experiment (a CYGNus module with Optical readout) aims to exploit the optical readout approach of multiple-GEM structures in large volume TPCs for the study of rare events as interactions of low-mass DM or solar neutrinos. The combined use of high-granularity sCMOS cameras and fast light sensors allows the reconstruction of the 3D direction of the tracks, offering good energy resolution and very high sensitivity in the few keV energy range, together with a very good particle identification useful for distinguishing nuclear recoils from electronic recoils. This experiment is part of the CYGNUS proto-collaboration, which aims at constructing a network of underground observatories for directional DM search. A one cubic meter demonstrator is expected to be built in 2022/23 aiming at a larger scale apparatus (30 m3–100 m3) at a later stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Experimental Techniques for Direct Dark Matter Detection)
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Article
An LGAD-Based Full Active Target for the PIONEER Experiment
Instruments 2021, 5(4), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5040040 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1787
Abstract
PIONEER is a next-generation experiment to measure the charged pion branching ratios to electrons vs. muons Re/μ=Γπ+e+ν(γ)Γπ+μ+ν(γ) and pion [...] Read more.
PIONEER is a next-generation experiment to measure the charged pion branching ratios to electrons vs. muons Re/μ=Γπ+e+ν(γ)Γπ+μ+ν(γ) and pion beta decay (Pib) π+π0eν. The pion to muon decay (πμe) has four orders of magnitude higher probability than the pion to electron decay (πeν). To achieve the necessary branching-ratio precision it is crucial to suppress the πμe energy spectrum that overlaps with the low energy tail of πeν. A high granularity active target (ATAR) is being designed to suppress the muon decay background sufficiently so that this tail can be directly measured. In addition, ATAR will provide detailed 4D tracking information to separate the energy deposits of the pion decay products in both position and time. This will suppress other significant systematic uncertainties (pulse pile-up, decay in flight of slow pions) to <0.01%, allowing the overall uncertainty in to be reduced to O (0.01%). The chosen technology for the ATAR is Low Gain Avalanche Detector (LGAD). These are thin silicon detectors (down to 50 μm in thickness or less) with moderate internal signal amplification and great time resolution. To achieve a 100% active region several emerging technologies are being evaluated, such as AC-LGADs and TI-LGADs. A dynamic range from MiP (positron) to several MeV (pion/muon) of deposited charge is expected, the detection and separation of close-by hits in such a wide dynamic range will be a main challenge. Furthermore, the compactness and the requirement of low inactive material of the ATAR present challenges for the readout system, forcing the amplifier chip and digitizer to be positioned away from the active region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Timing Detectors)
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Article
Towards High-Repetition-Rate Fast Neutron Sources Using Novel Enabling Technologies
Instruments 2021, 5(4), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5040038 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2090
Abstract
High-flux, high-repetition-rate neutron sources are of interest in studying neutron-induced damage processes in materials relevant to fusion, ultimately guiding designs for future fusion reactors. Existing and upcoming petawatt laser systems show great potential to fulfill this need. Here, we present a platform for [...] Read more.
High-flux, high-repetition-rate neutron sources are of interest in studying neutron-induced damage processes in materials relevant to fusion, ultimately guiding designs for future fusion reactors. Existing and upcoming petawatt laser systems show great potential to fulfill this need. Here, we present a platform for producing laser-driven neutron beams based on a high-repetition-rate cryogenic liquid jet target and an adaptable stacked lithium and beryllium converter. Selected ion and neutron diagnostics enable monitoring of the key parameters of both beams. A first single-shot proof-of-principle experiment successfully implemented the presented platform at the Texas Petawatt Laser facility, achieving efficient generation of a forward-directed neutron beam. This work lays the foundation for future high-repetition-rate experiments towards pulsed, high-flux, fast neutron sources for radiation-induced effect studies relevant for fusion science and applications that require neutron beams with short pulse duration. Full article
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Article
Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) Near Detector Conceptual Design Report
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Instruments 2021, 5(4), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5040031 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 6090
Abstract
The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is an international, world-class experiment aimed at exploring fundamental questions about the universe that are at the forefront of astrophysics and particle physics research. DUNE will study questions pertaining to the preponderance of matter over antimatter in [...] Read more.
The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is an international, world-class experiment aimed at exploring fundamental questions about the universe that are at the forefront of astrophysics and particle physics research. DUNE will study questions pertaining to the preponderance of matter over antimatter in the early universe, the dynamics of supernovae, the subtleties of neutrino interaction physics, and a number of beyond the Standard Model topics accessible in a powerful neutrino beam. A critical component of the DUNE physics program involves the study of changes in a powerful beam of neutrinos, i.e., neutrino oscillations, as the neutrinos propagate a long distance. The experiment consists of a near detector, sited close to the source of the beam, and a far detector, sited along the beam at a large distance. This document, the DUNE Near Detector Conceptual Design Report (CDR), describes the design of the DUNE near detector and the science program that drives the design and technology choices. The goals and requirements underlying the design, along with projected performance are given. It serves as a starting point for a more detailed design that will be described in future documents. Full article
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Article
Josephson Junctions as Single Microwave Photon Counters: Simulation and Characterization
Instruments 2021, 5(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5030025 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2576
Abstract
Detection of light dark matter, such as axion-like particles, puts stringent requirements on the efficiency and dark-count rates of microwave-photon detectors. The possibility of operating a current-biased Josephson junction as a single-microwave photon-detector was investigated through numerical simulations, and through an initial characterization [...] Read more.
Detection of light dark matter, such as axion-like particles, puts stringent requirements on the efficiency and dark-count rates of microwave-photon detectors. The possibility of operating a current-biased Josephson junction as a single-microwave photon-detector was investigated through numerical simulations, and through an initial characterization of two Al junctions fabricated by shadow mask evaporation, done in a dilution refrigerator by measuring escape currents at different temperatures, from 40 mK up to the Al transition temperature. The escape dynamics of the junctions were reproduced in the simulation, including the dissipative effects. Inhibition of thermal activation was observed, leaving the macroscopic quantum tunneling as the dominant effect well beyond the crossover temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Experimental Techniques for Direct Dark Matter Detection)
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Article
New Projections for Dark Matter Searches with Paleo-Detectors
Instruments 2021, 5(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5020021 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2729
Abstract
Paleo-detectors are a proposed experimental technique to search for dark matter (DM). In lieu of the conventional approach of operating a tonne-scale real-time detector to search for DM-induced nuclear recoils, paleo-detectors take advantage of small samples of naturally occurring rocks on Earth that [...] Read more.
Paleo-detectors are a proposed experimental technique to search for dark matter (DM). In lieu of the conventional approach of operating a tonne-scale real-time detector to search for DM-induced nuclear recoils, paleo-detectors take advantage of small samples of naturally occurring rocks on Earth that have been deep underground (≳5 km), accumulating nuclear damage tracks from recoiling nuclei for O(1)Gyr. Modern microscopy techniques promise the capability to read out nuclear damage tracks with nanometer resolution in macroscopic samples. Thanks to their O(1)Gyr integration times, paleo-detectors could constitute nuclear recoil detectors with keV recoil energy thresholds and 100 kilotonne-yr exposures. This combination would allow paleo-detectors to probe DM-nucleon cross sections orders of magnitude below existing upper limits from conventional direct detection experiments. In this article, we use improved background modeling and a new spectral analysis technique to update the sensitivity forecast for paleo-detectors. We demonstrate the robustness of the sensitivity forecast to the (lack of) ancillary measurements of the age of the samples and the parameters controlling the backgrounds, systematic mismodeling of the spectral shape of the backgrounds, and the radiopurity of the mineral samples. Specifically, we demonstrate that even if the uranium concentration in paleo-detector samples is 108 (per weight), many orders of magnitude larger than what we expect in the most radiopure samples obtained from ultra basic rock or marine evaporite deposits, paleo-detectors could still probe DM-nucleon cross sections below current limits. For DM masses ≲ 10 GeV/c2, the sensitivity of paleo-detectors could still reach down all the way to the conventional neutrino floor in a Xe-based direct detection experiment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Experimental Techniques for Direct Dark Matter Detection)
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Article
Advantages and Requirements in Time Resolving Tracking for Astroparticle Experiments in Space
Instruments 2021, 5(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5020020 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3261
Abstract
A large-area, solid-state detector with single-hit precision timing measurement will enable several breakthrough experimental advances for the direct measurement of particles in space. Silicon microstrip detectors are the most promising candidate technology to instrument the large areas of the next-generation astroparticle space borne [...] Read more.
A large-area, solid-state detector with single-hit precision timing measurement will enable several breakthrough experimental advances for the direct measurement of particles in space. Silicon microstrip detectors are the most promising candidate technology to instrument the large areas of the next-generation astroparticle space borne detectors that could meet the limitations on power consumption required by operations in space. We overview the novel experimental opportunities that could be enabled by the introduction of the timing measurement, concurrent with the accurate spatial and charge measurement, in Silicon microstrip tracking detectors, and we discuss the technological solutions and their readiness to enable the operations of large-area Silicon microstrip timing detectors in space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Timing Detectors)
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Article
Validation of a Fast and Accurate Magnetic Tracker Operating in the Environmental Field
Instruments 2021, 5(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5010011 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
We characterize the performance of a system based on a magnetoresistor array. This instrument is developed to map the magnetic field, and to track a dipolar magnetic source in the presence of a static homogeneous field. The position and orientation of the magnetic [...] Read more.
We characterize the performance of a system based on a magnetoresistor array. This instrument is developed to map the magnetic field, and to track a dipolar magnetic source in the presence of a static homogeneous field. The position and orientation of the magnetic source with respect to the sensor frame is retrieved together with the orientation of the frame with respect to the environmental field. A nonlinear best-fit procedure is used, and its precision, time performance, and reliability are analyzed. This analysis is performed in view of the practical application for which the system is designed that is an eye-tracking diagnostics and rehabilitative tool for medical purposes, which require high speed (≥100 Sa/s) and sub-millimetric spatial resolution. A throughout investigation on the results makes it possible to list several observations, suggestions, and hints, which will be useful in the design of similar setups. Full article
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Article
Luminescence Response and Quenching Models for Heavy Ions of 0.5 keV to 1 GeV/n in Liquid Argon and Xenon
Instruments 2021, 5(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5010005 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2020
Abstract
Biexcitonic collision kinetics with prescribed diffusion in the ion track core have been applied for scintillation response due to heavy ions in liquid argon. The quenching factors q = EL/E, where E is the ion energy and EL [...] Read more.
Biexcitonic collision kinetics with prescribed diffusion in the ion track core have been applied for scintillation response due to heavy ions in liquid argon. The quenching factors q = EL/E, where E is the ion energy and EL is the energy expended for luminescence, for 33.5 MeV/n 18O and 31.9 MeV/n 36Ar ions in liquid Ar at zero field are found to be 0.73 and 0.46, compared with measured values of 0.59 and 0.46, respectively. The quenching model is also applied for 80–200 keV Pb recoils in α-decay, background candidates in direct dark matter searches, in liquid argon. Values obtained are ~0.09. A particular feature of Birks’ law has been found and exploited in evaluating the electronic quenching factor qel in liquid Xe. The total quenching factors qT for 0.5–20 keV Xe recoils needed for weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) searches are estimated to be ~0.12–0.14, and those for Pb recoils of 103 and 169 keV are 0.08 and 0.09, respectively. In the calculation, the nuclear quenching factor qnc = Eη/E, where Eη is the energy available for the electronic excitation, is obtained by Lindhard theory and a semi-empirical theory by Ling and Knipp. The electronic linear energy transfer plays a key role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Production and Detection in Noble Liquid Detectors)
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Editorial

Editorial
25 Years of Dual-Readout Calorimetry
Instruments 2022, 6(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments6030036 - 07 Sep 2022
Viewed by 484
Abstract
Twenty-five years ago, at the CALOR1997 conference in Tucson, the idea of dual-readout calorimetry was first presented. In this talk, I discuss the considerations that led to that proposal, and describe the developments that have since taken place, to the point where dual-readout [...] Read more.
Twenty-five years ago, at the CALOR1997 conference in Tucson, the idea of dual-readout calorimetry was first presented. In this talk, I discuss the considerations that led to that proposal, and describe the developments that have since taken place, to the point where dual-readout calorimetry is now considered a major candidate for experiments at future colliders. Full article
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Review

Review
Wavelength Shifters for Applications in Liquid Argon Detectors
Instruments 2021, 5(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments5010004 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3430
Abstract
Wavelength shifters and their applications for liquid argon detectors have been a subject of extensive R&D procedures over the past decade. This work reviews the most recent results in this field. We compare the optical properties and usage details together with the associated [...] Read more.
Wavelength shifters and their applications for liquid argon detectors have been a subject of extensive R&D procedures over the past decade. This work reviews the most recent results in this field. We compare the optical properties and usage details together with the associated challenges for various wavelength shifting solutions. We discuss the current status and potential future R&D directions for the main classes of wavelength shifters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Argon Detectors: Instrumentation and Applications)
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Review
Overview of CMOS Sensors for Future Tracking Detectors
Instruments 2020, 4(4), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments4040036 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1933
Abstract
Depleted Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) sensors are emerging as one of the main candidate technologies for future tracking detectors in high luminosity colliders. Their capability of integrating the sensing diode into the CMOS wafer hosting the front-end electronics allows for reduced noise and higher [...] Read more.
Depleted Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) sensors are emerging as one of the main candidate technologies for future tracking detectors in high luminosity colliders. Their capability of integrating the sensing diode into the CMOS wafer hosting the front-end electronics allows for reduced noise and higher signal sensitivity, due to the direct collection of the sensor signal by the readout electronics. They are suitable for high radiation environments due to the possibility of applying high depletion voltage and the availability of relatively high resistivity substrates. The use of a CMOS commercial fabrication process leads to their cost reduction and allows faster construction of large area detectors. In this contribution, a general perspective of the state of the art of CMOS detectors for High Energy Physics experiments is given. The main developments carried out with regard to these devices in the framework of the CERN RD50 collaboration are summarized. Full article
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Review
Superconducting Accelerator Magnets Based on High-Temperature Superconducting Bi-2212 Round Wires
Instruments 2020, 4(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments4020017 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3222
Abstract
Superconducting magnets are an invaluable tool for scientific discovery, energy research, and medical diagnosis. To date, virtually all superconducting magnets have been made from two Nb-based low-temperature superconductors (Nb-Ti with a superconducting transition temperature Tc of 9.2 K and Nb3Sn [...] Read more.
Superconducting magnets are an invaluable tool for scientific discovery, energy research, and medical diagnosis. To date, virtually all superconducting magnets have been made from two Nb-based low-temperature superconductors (Nb-Ti with a superconducting transition temperature Tc of 9.2 K and Nb3Sn with a Tc of 18.3 K). The 8.33 T Nb-Ti accelerator dipole magnets of the large hadron collider (LHC) at CERN enabled the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the ongoing search for physics beyond the standard model of high energy physics. The 12 T class Nb3Sn magnets are key to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Tokamak and to the high-luminosity upgrade of the LHC that aims to increase the luminosity by a factor of 5–10. In this paper, we discuss opportunities with a high-temperature superconducting material Bi-2212 with a Tc of 80–92 K for building more powerful magnets for high energy circular colliders. The development of a superconducting accelerator magnet could not succeed without a parallel development of a high performance conductor. We will review triumphs of developing Bi-2212 round wires into a magnet grade conductor and technologies that enable them. Then, we will discuss the challenges associated with constructing a high-field accelerator magnet using Bi-2212 wires, especially those dipoles of 15–20 T class with a significant value for future physics colliders, potential technology paths forward, and progress made so far with subscale magnet development based on racetrack coils and a canted-cosine-theta magnet design that uniquely addresses the mechanical weaknesses of Bi-2212 cables. Additionally, a roadmap being implemented by the US Magnet Development Program for demonstrating high-field Bi-2212 accelerator dipole technologies is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Superconductivity for Particle Accelerator)
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