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Characterization and long-term performance of the Radon Trapping Facility operating at the Modane Underground Laboratory

  • Hodák, R.
  • Perrot, F.
  • Brudanin, V.
  • Busto, J.
  • Havelcová, M.
  • Hůlka, J.
  • Jullian, S.
  • Kochetov, O.
  • Lalanne, D.
  • Loaiza, P.
  • Macl, J.
  • Mamedov, F.
  • Mizera, J.
  • Noel, R.
  • Piquemal, F.
  • Rukhadze, E.
  • Rulík, P.
  • Smolek, K.
  • Soulé, B.
  • Suchá, T.
  • And 5 more
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
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Radon is one of the main potential sources of background radiation for any rare event experiments like neutrinoless double beta decay or dark matter experiments. The Radon Trapping Facility (RTF) installed in 2004 at the Modane Underground Laboratory (LSM) has been running for nine years providing radon-purified air at a level of 10 mBq m−3 for several experiments. The radon suppression principle is based on a radon physical adsorption using cooled compressed air at −55 °C pumped through a column filled with the K48 activated charcoal. After disassembling of the RTF, the 2.6 m high charcoal column has been divided into several layers in order to study with different techniques the dynamic adsorption coefficient (the K-factor) as a function of the depth and the radon spatial trapping profile by measuring the 210Pb activity. It has been demonstrated that after almost a decade of running, the K-factor of the activated charcoal remains constant except for the first few cm of the column. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the mass activity of 210Pb as a function of the depth of the charcoal column exhibits an exponential decay profile. The radon mean retention time τ R of (47.6 ± 1.2) days and the radon mean free path of (28.9 ± 0.4) cm have been derived and found to be consistent at 1σ with the ones obtained from the K-factor study, i.e. from a total independent measurement. The radon suppression factor of the RTF of has been also estimated with a value consistent at 2σ with the suppression factor measured during the RTF operation. Thus, this study has proven the capacity of the RTF to purify the LSM air from radon by more than three orders of magnitude during nine years of operation.

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