A novel segmented-scintillator antineutrino detector
The next generation of very-short-baseline reactor experiments will require compact detectors operating at surface level and close to a nuclear reactor. This paper presents a new detector concept based on a composite solid scintillator technology. The detector target uses cubes of polyvinyltoluene interleaved with (LiF)-Li-6:ZnS(Ag) phosphor screens to detect the products of the inverse beta decay reaction. A multi-tonne detector system built from these individual cells can provide precise localisation of scintillation signals, making efficient use of the detector volume. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that a neutron capture efficiency of over 70% is achievable with a sufficient number of 6LiF: ZnS( Ag) screens per cube and that an appropriate segmentation enables a measurement of the positron energy which is not limited by gamma-ray leakage. First measurements of a single cell indicate that a very good neutron-gamma discrimination and high neutron detection efficiency can be obtained with adequate triggering techniques. The light yield from positron signals has been measured, showing that an energy resolution of 14%/root E(MeV) is achievable with high uniformity. A preliminary neutrino signal analysis has been developed, using selection criteria for pulse shape, energy, time structure and energy spatial distribution and showing that an antineutrino efficiency of 40% can be achieved. It also shows that the fine segmentation of the detector can be used to significantly decrease both correlated and accidental backgrounds.