Monday, August 5, 2013

1308.0532 (Nicholas Steinbrink et al.)

Neutrino mass sensitivity by MAC-E-Filter based time-of-flight
spectroscopy with the example of KATRIN

Nicholas Steinbrink, Volker Hannen, Eric L. Martin, R. G. Hamish Robertson, Michael Zacher, Christian Weinheimer
The KATRIN experiment aims at a measurement of the neutrino mass with a 90 % C.L. sensitivity of 0.2 eV/c$^2$ by measuring the endpoint region of the tritium $\beta$ decay spectrum from a windowless gaseous molecular tritium source using an integrating spectrometer of the MAC-E-Filter type. We discuss the idea of using the MAC-E-Filter in a time-of-flight mode (MAC-E-TOF) in which the neutrino mass is determined by a measurement of the electron time-of-flight (TOF) spectrum that depends on the neutrino mass. MAC-E-TOF spectroscopy here is a very sensitive method since the $\beta$-electrons are slowed down to distinguishable velocities by the MAC-E-Filter. Their velocity depends strongly on their surplus energy above the electric retarding potential. Using MAC-E-TOF, a statistical sensitivity gain is expected. Because a small number of retarding-potential settings is sufficient for a complete measurement, in contrast to about 40 different retarding potentials used in the standard MAC-E-Filter mode, there is a gain in measurement time and hence statistical power. The improvement of the statistical uncertainty of the squared neutrino mass has been determined by Monte Carlo simulation to be a factor 5 for an ideal case neglecting background and timing uncertainty. Additionally, two scenarios to determine the time-of-flight of the $\beta$-electrons are discussed, which use the KATRIN detector for creating the stop signal and different methods for obtaining a start signal. These comprise the hypothetical case of an `electron tagger' which detects passing electrons with minimal interference and the more realistic case of `gated filtering', where the electron flux is periodically cut off by pulsing the pre-spectrometer potential.
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