Cosmogenic neutron production at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory

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4 Scopus citations


Neutrons produced in nuclear interactions initiated by cosmic-ray muons present an irreducible background to many rare-event searches, even in detectors located deep underground. Models for the production of these neutrons have been tested against previous experimental data, but the extrapolation to deeper sites is not well understood. Here we report results from an analysis of cosmogenically produced neutrons at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. A specific set of observables are presented, which can be used to benchmark the validity of geant4 physics models. In addition, the cosmogenic neutron yield, in units of 10-4 cm2/(g·μ), is measured to be 7.28±0.09(stat)-1.12+1.59(syst) in pure heavy water and 7.30±0.07(stat)-1.02+1.40(syst) in NaCl-loaded heavy water. These results provide unique insights into this potential background source for experiments at SNOLAB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112005
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 12 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by: Canada: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Industry Canada, National Research Council, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd., Ontario Power Generation, High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs program, Breakthrough Prize Fund at Queen’s University; US: Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Physics, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration through the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium; UK: Science and Technology Facilities Council (formerly Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council); Portugal: Fundaçáo para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. We thank the SNO technical staff for their strong contributions. We thank INCO (now Vale, Ltd.) for hosting this project in their Creighton mine. This research used the Savio computational cluster resource provided by the Berkeley Research Computing program at the University of California, Berkeley (supported by the UC Berkeley Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Research, and Chief Information Officer). The authors would like to thank John Beacom and Shirley Li for useful discussions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the "" Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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