Detection of liquid xenon scintillation light with a silicon photomultiplier

E. Aprile, P. Cushman, K. Ni, P. Shagin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We have studied the feasibility of a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) to detect liquid xenon (LXe) scintillation light. The SiPM was operated inside a small volume of pure liquid xenon (LXe), at -95°C, irradiated with an internal 241Am α source. The gain of the SiPM at this temperature was estimated to be 1.8×106 at a 52 V bias voltage. Based on the geometry of the setup, the quantum efficiency of the SiPM was estimated to be 22% (5.5% is the photon detection efficiency) at the Xe wavelength of 178 nm. The low excess noise factor (about 1.05), high single photoelectron detection efficiency, and low bias voltage of SiPMs make them attractive alternative UV photon detection devices to photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) for liquid xenon detectors, especially for experiments requiring a very low energy detection threshold, such as neutralino dark matter searches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-218
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to express their gratitude to Prof. B. Dolgoshein and Dr. E. Popova for the donation of SiPM samples and their assistance in understanding SiPM behavior. This work was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation to the Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory (Grant No. PHY-02-01740) and by The Department of Energy (HEP grant No. 94ER40823) to the University of Minnesota.


  • Dark matter
  • Liquid xenon
  • Scintillation
  • Silicon photomultiplier


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