Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Yuri Efremenko, Christine Nattrass, Maik Lang
Liquid Argon Time Projection Chambers (LArTPCs) are a rising technology in the field of experimental neutrino physics. LArTPCs use ionization electrons and scintillation light to reconstruct neutrino interactions with exceptional calorimetric and position resolution capabilities. Here, I present two analyses conducted in the MicroBooNE LArTPC at Fermilab: a measurement of the longitudinal electron diffusion coefficient, DL, in the MicroBooNE detector and a constraint of the systematic uncertainty on MicroBooNE's single-photon analysis due to the dominant neutral current (NC) π0 background. Longitudinal electron diffusion modifies the spatial and timing resolution of the detector, and measuring it will help correct for these effects. Furthermore, current measurements of DL in liquid argon are sparse and in tension with one another, making the MicroBooNE measurement especially valuable. We report a measurement of DL = 3.74+0.28-0.29 cm2/s. MicroBooNE is searching for single-photon events as a potential explanation for the MiniBooNE low-energy excess (LEE) of electron neutrino-like events, which has been interpreted as evidence for low-mass sterile neutrinos. However, this search is overwhelmed by a large NC π0 background. By performing a sideband selection of NC π0 events, we apply a data-driven rate constraint to the single-photon analysis to reduce the systematic uncertainties. At present, this constraint improves the single-photon analysis' median sensitivity to the LEE-like signal from 0.9σ to 1.5σ. This sensitivity is expected to improve significantly as more data become available. Both of these measurements will not only benefit MicroBooNE, but also inform future LArTPC experiments.
Mogan, Andrew, "Measuring Electron Diffusion and Constraining the Neutral Current π0 Background for Single-Photon Events in MicroBooNE. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2021.