Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Antineutrino Detector

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Schematic of the KamLAND detector

Coordinates: 36°25′21″N 137°18′55″E / 36.4225°N 137.3153°E / 36.4225; 137.3153[1]:105 The Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) is an electron antineutrino detector at the Kamioka Observatory, an underground neutrino detection facility near Toyama, Japan. The device is situated in a drift mine shaft in the old KamiokaNDE cavity in the Japanese Alps. The site is surrounded by 53 Japanese commercial nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors produce electron antineutrinos () during the decay of radioactive fission products in the nuclear fuel. Like the intensity of light from a light bulb or a distant star, the isotropically-emitted flux decreases at 1/R2 per increasing distance R from the reactor. The device is sensitive up to an estimated 25% of antineutrinos from nuclear reactors that exceed the threshold energy of 1.8 megaelectronvolts (MeV) and thus produces a signal in the detector.

If neutrinos have mass, they may oscillate into flavors that an experiment may not detect, leading to a further dimming, or "disappearance," of the electron antineutrinos. KamLAND is located at an average flux-weighted distance of approximately 180 kilometers from the reactors, which makes it sensitive to the mixing of neutrinos associated with large mixing angle (LMA) solutions to the solar neutrino problem.

KamLAND Detector[edit]

The KamLAND detector's outer layer consists of an 18 meter-diameter stainless steel containment vessel with an inner lining of 1,879 photo-multiplier tubes (1325 17" and 554 20" PMTs).[2] Photocathode coverage is 34%. Its second, inner layer consists of a 13 m-diameter nylon balloon filled with a liquid scintillator composed of 1,000 metric tons of mineral oil, benzene, and fluorescent chemicals. Non-scintillating, highly purified oil provides buoyancy for the balloon and acts as a buffer to keep the balloon away from the photo-multiplier tubes; the oil also shields against external radiation. A 3.2 kiloton cylindrical water Cherenkov detector surrounds the containment vessel, acting as a muon veto counter and providing shielding from cosmic rays and radioactivity from the surrounding rock.

Electron antineutrinos (
) are detected through the Inverse beta decay reaction , which has a 1.8 MeV energy threshold. The prompt scintillation light from the positron () gives an estimate of the incident antineutrino energy, , where is the prompt event energy including the positron kinetic energy and the annihilation energy. The quantity <> is the average neutron recoil energy, which is only a few tens of kiloelectronvolts (keV). The neutron is captured on hydrogen approximately 200 microseconds (μs) later, emitting a characteristic 2.2 MeV
. This delayed-coincidence signature is a very powerful tool for distinguishing antineutrinos from backgrounds produced by other particles.

To compensate for the loss in flux due to the long baseline, KamLAND has a much larger detection volume compared to earlier devices. The KamLAND detector uses a 1,000-metric-ton detection mass, which is over twice the size of similar detectors, such as Borexino. However, the increased volume of the detector also demands more shielding from cosmic rays, requiring the detector be placed underground.

As part of the Kamland-Zen double beta decay search, a balloon of scintillator with 320 kg of dissolved xenon was suspended in the center of the detector in 2011.[3] A cleaner rebuilt balloon is planned with additional xenon. KamLAND-PICO is a planned project that will install the PICO-LON detector in KamLand to search for dark matter. PICO-LON is a radiopure NaI(Tl) crystal that observes inelastic WIMP-nucleus scattering.[4] Improvements to the detector are planned, adding light collecting mirrors and PMTs with higher quantum efficiency.


Neutrino oscillation[edit]

KamLAND started to collect data on January 17, 2002. First results were reported using only 145 days of data.[5] Without neutrino oscillation, 86.8±5.6 events were expected, however, only 54 events were observed. KamLAND confirmed this result with a 515-day data sample,[6] 365.2 events were predicted in the absence of oscillation, and 258 events were observed. These results established antineutrino disappearance at high significance.

The KamLAND detector not only counts the antineutrino rate, but also measures their energy. The shape of this energy spectrum carries additional information that can be used to investigate neutrino oscillation hypotheses. Statistical analyses in 2005 show the spectrum distortion is inconsistent with the no-oscillation hypothesis and two alternative disappearance mechanisms, namely the neutrino decay and de-coherence models.[citation needed] It is consistent with 2-neutrino oscillation and a fit provides the values for the Δm2 and θ parameters. Since KamLAND measures Δm2 most precisely and the solar experiments exceed KamLAND's ability to measure θ, the most precise oscillation parameters are obtained in combination with solar results. Such a combined fit gives and , the best neutrino oscillation parameter determination to that date. Since then a 3 neutrino model has been used.

Precision combined measurements were reported in 2008[7] and 2011:[8]

Geological antineutrinos (geoneutrinos)[edit]

KamLAND also published an investigation of geologically-produced antineutrinos (so-called geoneutrinos) in 2005. These neutrinos are produced in the decay of thorium and uranium in the Earth's crust and mantle.[9] A few geoneutrinos were detected and this limited data were used to limit the U/Th radiopower to under 60TW.

Combination results with Borexino were published in 2011,[10] measuring the U/Th heat flux.

New results in 2013, benefiting from the reduced backgrounds due to Japanese reactor shutdowns, were able to constrain U/Th radiogenic heat production to TW [11] using 116 events. This constrains composition models of the bulk silicate Earth and agrees with the reference Earth model.

KamLAND-Zen Double Beta Decay Search[edit]

KamLAND-Zen uses the detector to study beta decay of 136Xe from a balloon placed in the scintillator in summer 2011. Observations set a limit for neutrinoless double-beta decay half-life of 1.9×1025 yr.[12] A double beta decay lifetime was also measured:  yr, consistent with other xenon studies.[3] KamLAND-Zen plans continued observations with more enriched Xe and an improved detector compenents.

An improved search was published in August 2016, increaseing the half-life limit to 1.07×1026 yr, with a neutrino mass bound of 61–165 meV.[13]


  1. ^ Iwamoto, Toshiyuki (February 2003), Measurement of Reactor Anti-Neutrino Disappearance in KamLAND (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis), Tohoku University 
  2. ^ Suzuki, Atsuto; Collaboration, KamLand (2005-01-01). "Results from KamLAND Reactor Neutrino Detection". Physica Scripta. 2005 (T121): 33. Bibcode:2005PhST..121...33S. ISSN 1402-4896. doi:10.1088/0031-8949/2005/T121/004. 
  3. ^ a b Gando, A.; et al. (KamLAND-Zen Collaboration) (19 April 2012). "Measurement of the double-β decay half-life of 136Xe with the KamLAND-Zen experiment". Physical Review C. 85 (4): 045504. Bibcode:2012PhRvC..85d5504G. arXiv:1201.4664Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.85.045504. 
  4. ^ Fushimi, K; et al. (2013). "PICO-LON Dark Matter Search". Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 469: 012011. Bibcode:2013JPhCS.469a2011F. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/469/1/012011Freely accessible. 
  5. ^ Eguchi, K.; et al. (KamLAND Collaboration) (2003). "First results from KamLAND: evidence for reactor antineutrino disappearance". Physical Review Letters. 90 (2): 021802–021807. Bibcode:2003PhRvL..90b1802E. PMID 12570536. arXiv:hep-ex/0212021Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.021802. 
  6. ^ Araki, T.; et al. (KamLAND Collaboration) (2005). "Measurement of neutrino oscillation with KamLAND: evidence of spectral distortion". Physical Review Letters. 94 (8): 081801–081806. Bibcode:2005PhRvL..94h1801A. PMID 15783875. arXiv:hep-ex/0406035Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.081801. 
  7. ^ Abe, S.; et al. (KamLAND Collaboration) (5 Jun 2008). "Precision Measurement of Neutrino Oscillation Parameters with KamLAND". Physical Review Letters. 100 (22): 221803. Bibcode:2008PhRvL.100v1803A. PMID 18643415. arXiv:0801.4589Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.221803. 
  8. ^ Gando, A.; et al. (2011). "Constraints on θ13 from A Three-Flavor Oscillation Analysis of Reactor Antineutrinos at KamLAND". Physical Review D. 83 (5): 052002. Bibcode:2011PhRvD..83e2002G. arXiv:1009.4771Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.83.052002. 
  9. ^ Araki, T.; et al. (KamLAND Collaboration) (2005). "Experimental investigation of geologically produced antineutrinos with KamLAND". Nature. 436 (7050): 499–503. Bibcode:2005Natur.436..499A. PMID 16049478. doi:10.1038/nature03980. 
  10. ^ Gando, A.; et al. (KamLAND Collaboration) (17 July 2011). "Partial radiogenic heat model for Earth revealed by geoneutrino measurements". Nature Geoscience. 4 (9): 647–651. Bibcode:2011NatGe...4..647K. doi:10.1038/ngeo1205. 
  11. ^ A. Gando et al. (KamLAND Collaboration) (2 August 2013). "Reactor on-off antineutrino measurement with KamLAND". Physical Review D. 88 (3): 033001. Bibcode:2013PhRvD..88c3001G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.88.033001. 
  12. ^ Gando, A.; et al. (KamLAND-Zen Collaboration) (7 February 2013). "Limit on Neutrinoless ββ Decay of 136Xe from the First Phase of KamLAND-Zen and Comparison with the Positive Claim in 76Ge". Physical Review Letters. 110 (6): 062502. Bibcode:2013PhRvL.110f2502G. PMID 23432237. arXiv:1211.3863Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.062502. 
  13. ^ Gando, A.; et al. (KamLAND-Zen Collaboration) (16 August 2016). "Search for Majorana Neutrinos Near the Inverted Mass Hierarchy Region with KamLAND-Zen". Physical Review Letters. 117 (8): 082503. Bibcode:2016PhRvL.117h2503G. PMID 27588852. arXiv:1605.02889Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.082503. 

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