, Volume 99, Issue 1-4, pp 193-206
Date: 29 Nov 2006

Towards Earth AntineutRino TomograpHy (EARTH)

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Abstract

The programme Earth AntineutRino TomograpHy (EARTH) proposes to build ten underground facilities each hosting a telescope. Each telescope consists of many detector modules, to map the radiogenic heat sources deep in the interior of the Earth by utilising direction sensitive geoneutrino detection. Recent hypotheses target the core-mantle boundary (CMB) as a major source of natural radionuclides and therefore of radiogenic heat. A typical scale of the processes that take place at the CMB is about 200 km. To observe these processes from the surface requires an angular resolution of about 3°. EARTH aims at creating a high-resolution 3D-map of the radiogenic heat sources in the Earth’s interior. It will thereby contribute to a better understanding of a number of geophysical phenomena observed at the Earth’s surface. This condition requires a completely different approach from the monolithic detector systems as e.g. KamLAND.

This paper presents, for such telescopes, the boundary conditions set by physics, the estimated count rates, and the first initial results from Monte-Carlo simulations and laboratory experiments. The Monte-Carlo simulations indicate that the large volume telescope should consist of detector modules each comprising a very large number of detector units, with a cross section of roughly a few square centimetres. The signature of an antineutrino event will be a double pulse event. One pulse arises from the slowing down of the emitted positron, the other from the neutron capture. In laboratory experiments small sized, 10B-loaded liquid scintillation detectors were investigated as candidates for direction sensitive, low-energy antineutrino detection.