European Physical Journal C: Particles and Fields (2019-12-01)

Exploring $$\hbox {CE}\nu \hbox {NS}$$ CEνNS with NUCLEUS at the Chooz nuclear power plant

  • G. Angloher,
  • F. Ardellier-Desages,
  • A. Bento,
  • L. Canonica,
  • A. Erhart,
  • N. Ferreiro,
  • M. Friedl,
  • V. M. Ghete,
  • D. Hauff,
  • H. Kluck,
  • A. Langenkämper,
  • T. Lasserre,
  • D. Lhuillier,
  • A. Kinast,
  • M. Mancuso,
  • J. Molina Rubiales,
  • E. Mondragón,
  • G. Munch,
  • C. Nones,
  • L. Oberauer,
  • A. Onillon,
  • T. Ortmann,
  • L. Pattavina,
  • F. Petricca,
  • W. Potzel,
  • F. Pröbst,
  • F. Reindl,
  • J. Rothe,
  • J. Schieck,
  • S. Schönert,
  • C. Schwertner,
  • L. Scola,
  • L. Stodolsky,
  • R. Strauss,
  • M. Vivier,
  • V. Wagner,
  • A. Zolotarova

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 79, no. 12
pp. 1 – 16


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Abstract Coherent elastic neutrino–nucleus scattering ($$\hbox {CE}\nu \hbox {NS}$$ CEνNS ) offers a unique way to study neutrino properties and to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model. Nuclear reactors are promising sources to explore this process at low energies since they deliver large fluxes of anti-neutrinos with typical energies of a few MeV. In this paper, a new-generation experiment to study $$\hbox {CE}\nu \hbox {NS}$$ CEνNS is described. The NUCLEUS experiment will use cryogenic detectors which feature an unprecedentedly low-energy threshold and a time response fast enough to be operated under above-ground conditions. Both sensitivity to low-energy nuclear recoils and a high event rate tolerance are stringent requirements to measuring $$\hbox {CE}\nu \hbox {NS}$$ CEνNS of reactor anti-neutrinos. A new experimental site, the Very-Near-Site (VNS), at the Chooz nuclear power plant in France is described. The VNS is located between the two 4.25 $$\hbox {GW}_{\mathrm {th}}$$ GWth reactor cores and matches the requirements of NUCLEUS. First results of on-site measurements of neutron and muon backgrounds, the expected dominant background contributions, are given. In this paper a preliminary experimental set-up with dedicated active and passive background reduction techniques and first background estimations are presented. Furthermore, the feasibility to operate the detectors in coincidence with an active muon veto at shallow overburden is studied. The paper concludes with a sensitivity study pointing out the physics potential of NUCLEUS at the Chooz nuclear power plant.