Dark matter search project PICO-LON

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The PICO-LON project aims at search for cold dark matter by means of highly radio-pure and large volume NaI(Tl) scintillator. The NaI powder was purified by chemical processing to remove lead isotopes and selecting a high purity graphite crucible. The concentrations of radioactive impurities of 226Ra and 228Th were effectively reduced to 58±4 μBq/kg and 1.5±1.9 μBq/kg, respectively. It should be remarked that the concentration of 210Pb, which is crucial for the sensitivity to dark matter, was reduced to 24±2 μBq/kg. The total background rate at 10 keVee was as low as 8 keV-1kg-1day-1, which was sufficiently low to search for dark matter. Further purification of NaI(Tl) ingot and future prospect of PICO-LON project is discussed.

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