GRK 1694: Elementary Particle Physics at Highest Energy and highest Precision

Monitoring of the operating parameters of the KATRIN Windowless Gaseous Tritium Source

  • Author:

    M. Babutzka, M. Bahr, J. Bonn, B. Bornschein, A. Dieter, G. Drexlin, K. Eitel, S. Fischer, F. Glück, S. Grohmann, M. Hötzel, T. M. James, W. Käfer, M. Leber, B. Monreal, F. Priester, M. Röllig, M. Schlösser, U. Schmitt, F. Sharipov, M. Steidl, M. Sturm, H. H. Telle, N. Titov 

  • Source:

     New J. Phys. 14 103046 doi:10.1088/1367-2630/14/10/103046. arXiv:1205.5421

  • Date: 24 May 2012
  • The KArlsruhe TRItium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment will measure the absolute mass scale of neutrinos with a sensitivity of mν = 200 meV/c2 by high-precision spectroscopy close to the tritium β-decay endpoint at 18.6 keV. Its Windowless Gaseous Tritium Source (WGTS) is a β-decay source of high intensity (1011 s−1) and stability, where high-purity molecular tritium at 30 K is circulated in a closed loop with a yearly throughput of 10 kg. To limit systematic effects the column density of the source has to be stabilized at the 10−3 level. This requires extensive sensor instrumentation and dedicated control and monitoring systems for parameters such as the beam tube temperature, injection pressure, gas composition and so on. In this paper, we give an overview of these systems including a dedicated laser-Raman system as well as several β-decay activity monitors. We also report on the results of the WGTS demonstrator and other large-scale test experiments giving proof-of-principle that all parameters relevant to the systematics can be controlled and monitored on the 10−3 level or better. As a result of these works, the WGTS systematics can be controlled within stringent margins, enabling the KATRIN experiment to explore the neutrino mass scale with the design sensitivity.