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Alpha surface events and multiple compton gamma interactions are the two major background components in Ge detectors for double-beta decay investigations. Two different methods have been studied to identify such type of events, using cryogenic Ge detectors developed primarily for dark matter search: (i) combined heat and ionization measurements, and (ii) pulse-shape analysis of the charge collection signals. Both methods show strong separation between electron recoil events and surface alphas. Cryogenic heat-ionization detectors therefore appear able to reject virtually all surface alpha interactions.
The ZEPLIN collaboration has recently published its first result presenting a maximum sensitivity of $1.1 \times 10^{-6}$ picobarn for a WIMP mass of $\approx$ 60 GeV. The analysis is based on a discrimination method using the different time distribution of scintillation light generated in electron recoil and nuclear recoil interactions. We show that the methodology followed both for the calibration of the ZEPLIN-I detector response and for the estimation of the discrimination power is not reliable enough to claim any background discrimination at the present stage. The ZEPLIN-I sensitivity appears then to be in the order of 10$^{-3}$ picobarn, three orders of magnitude above the claimed 1.1 10$^{-6}$ picobarn.
Comment: 8 pages, 4 figures, minor corrections, two references updated, final version accepted in Physics Letters B
The heat quenching factor Q' (the ratio of the heat signals produced by nuclear and electron recoils of equal energy) of the heat-and-ionization germanium bolometers used by the EDELWEISS collaboration has been measured. It is explained how this factor affects the energy scale and the effective quenching factor observed in calibrations with neutron sources. This effective quenching effect is found to be equal to Q/Q', where Q is the quenching factor of the ionization yield. To measure Q', a precise EDELWEISS measurement of Q/Q' is combined with values of Q obtained from a review of all available measurements of this quantity in tagged neutron beam experiments. The systematic uncertainties associated with this method to evaluate Q' are discussed in detail. For recoil energies between 20 and 100 keV, the resulting heat quenching factor i...
This paper presents our interpretation and understanding of the different backgrounds in the EDELWEISS-I data sets. We analyze in detail the several populations observed, which include gammas, alphas, neutrons, thermal sensor events and surface events, and try to combine all data sets to provide a coherent picture of the nature and localisation of the background sources. In light of this interpretation, we draw conclusions regarding the background suppression scheme for the EDELWEISS-II phase.
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