Used for both proton decay searches and neutrino physics, large water Cherenkov (WC) detectors have been very successful tools in particle physics. They are notable for their large masses and charged particle detection capabilities. While current WC detectors reconstruct charged particle tracks over a wide energy range, they cannot efficiently detect neutrons. Gadolinium (Gd) has the largest thermal neutron capture cross section of all stable nuclei and produces an 8 MeV gamma cascade that can be detected with high efficiency. Because of the many new physics opportunities that neutron tagging with a Gd salt dissolved in water would open up, a large-scale R&D program called EGADS was established to demonstrate this technique's feasibility. EGADS features all the components of a WC detector, chiefly a 200-ton stainless steel water tank furnished with 240 photo-detectors, DAQ, and a water system that removes all impurities from water while keeping Gd in solution. In this paper we discuss the milestones towards demonstrating the feasibility of this novel technique, and the features of EGADS in detail.
|Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
|Published - 11 Apr 2020