Imaging individual barium atoms in solid xenon for barium tagging in nEXO

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Chambers C, Walton T, Fairbank D, Craycraft A, Yahne DR, Todd J, Iverson A, Fairbank W, Alamre A, Albert JB, Anton G, Arnquist IJ, Badhrees I, Barbeau PS, Beck D, Belov V, Bhatta T, Bourque F, Brodsky JP, Brown E, Brunner T, Burenkov A, Cao GF, Cao L, Cen WR, Charlebois SA, Chiu M, Cleveland B, Coon M, Côté M, Cree W, Dalmasson J, Daniels T, Darroch L, Daugherty SJ, Daughhetee J, Delaquis S, Der Mesrobian-Kabakian A, DeVoe R, Dilling J, Ding YY, Dolinski MJ, Dragone A, Echevers J, Fabris L, Farine J, Feyzbakhsh S, Fontaine R, Fudenberg D, Gallina G, Giacomini G, Gornea R, Gratta G, Hansen EV, Heffner M, Hoppe EW, Hößl J, House A, Hufschmidt P, Hughes M, Ito Y, Jamil A, Jessiman C, Jewell MJ, Jiang XS, Karelin A, Kaufman LJ, Kodroff D, Koffas T, Kravitz S, Krücken R, Kuchenkov A, Kumar KS, Lan Y, Larson A, Leonard DS, Li G, Li S, Li Z, Licciardi C, Lin YH, Lv P, MacLellan R, Michel T, Mong B, Moore DC, Murray K, Newby RJ, Ning Z, Njoya O, Nolet F, Nusair O, Odgers K, Odian A, Oriunno M, Orrell JL, Ortega GS, Ostrovskiy I, Overman CT, Parent S, Piepke A, Pocar A, Pratte JF, Qiu D, Radeka V, Raguzin E, Rao T, Rescia S, Retière F, Robinson A, Rossignol T, Rowson PC, Roy N, Saldanha R, Sangiorgio S, Schmidt S, Schneider J, Schubert A, Skarpaas K, Soma AK, St-Hilaire G, Stekhanov V, Stiegler T, Sun XL, Tarka M, Tolba T, Totev TI, Tsang R, Tsang T, Vachon F, Veenstra B, Veeraraghavan V, Visser G, Vuilleumier JL, Wagenpfeil M, Wang Q, Watkins J, Weber M, Wei W, Wen LJ, Wichoski U, Wrede G, Wu SX, Wu WH, Xia Q, Yang L, Yen YR, Zeldovich O, Zhang X, Zhao J, Zhou Y, Ziegler T
Journal: Nature
Publication year: 2019
Volume: 569
Journal issue: 7755
ISSN: 0028-0836
eISSN: 1476-4687


Double-β-decay involves the simultaneous conversion of two neutrons into two protons, and the emission of two electrons and two neutrinos; the neutrinoless process, although not yet observed, is thought to involve the emission of the two electrons but no neutrinos. The search for neutrinoless-double-β-decay probes fundamental properties of neutrinos, including whether or not the neutrino and antineutrino are distinct particles. Double-β-decay detectors are large and expensive, so it is essential to achieve the highest possible sensitivity with each study, and removing spurious contributions (‘background’) from detected signals is crucial. In the nEXO neutrinoless-double-β-decay experiment, the identification, or ‘tagging’, of the
Ba daughter atom resulting from the double-β decay of
Xe provides a technique for discriminating background. The tagging scheme studied here uses a cryogenic probe to trap the barium atom in a solid xenon matrix, where the barium atom is tagged through fluorescence imaging. Here we demonstrate the imaging and counting of individual barium atoms in solid xenon by scanning a focused laser across a solid xenon matrix deposited on a sapphire window. When the laser irradiates an individual atom, the fluorescence persists for about 30 seconds before dropping abruptly to the background level—a clear confirmation of one-atom imaging. Following evaporation of a barium deposit, the residual barium fluorescence is 0.16 per cent or less. Our technique achieves the imaging of single atoms in a solid noble element, establishing the basic principle of barium tagging for nEXO.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Anton, Gisela Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)
Hößl, Jürgen Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)
Hufschmidt, Patrick
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)
Michel, Thilo PD Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)
Schmidt, Sebastian
Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP)
Wagenpfeil, Michael
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)
Wrede, Gerrit
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)
Ziegler, Tobias
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Teilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik)

Additional Organisation
Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP)

External institutions with authors

Brookhaven National Laboratory
Carleton University
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) / 中国科学院
Colorado State University
Drexel University
Indiana University
Institute for Basic Science
Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) / Институт теоретической и экспериментальной физики
Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) / 中国科学院高能物理研究所
Laurentian University
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
McGill University
National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Stanford University
State University of New York (SUNY)
The University of Alabama
Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory
Universität Bern
Université de Sherbrooke
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass)
University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)
University of South Dakota

How to cite

Chambers, C., Walton, T., Fairbank, D., Craycraft, A., Yahne, D.R., Todd, J.,... Ziegler, T. (2019). Imaging individual barium atoms in solid xenon for barium tagging in nEXO. Nature, 569(7755).

Chambers, C., et al. "Imaging individual barium atoms in solid xenon for barium tagging in nEXO." Nature 569.7755 (2019).


Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 07:21