Performance of different photocathode materials in a liquid argon purity monitor

L. Manenti, L. Cremonesi, F. Arneodo, A. Basharina-Freshville, M. Campanelli, A. Holin, R. Nichol, R. Saakyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purity monitor devices are increasingly used in liquid noble gas time projection chambers to measure the lifetime of drifting electrons. Purity monitors work by emitting electrons from a photocathode material via the photoelectric effect. The electrons are then drifted towards an anode by means of an applied electric drift field. By measuring the difference in charge between the cathode and the anode, one can extract the lifetime of the drifting electrons in the medium. For the first time, we test the performance of different photocathode materials-silver, titanium, and aluminium- A nd compare them to gold, which is the standard photocathode material used for purity monitors. Titanium and aluminium were found to have a worse performance than gold in vacuum, whereas silver showed a signal of the same order of magnitude as gold. Further tests in liquid argon were carried out on silver and gold with the conclusion that the signal produced by silver is about three times stronger than that of gold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberP09003
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Counting-gas and liquid purification
  • Cryogenic detectors
  • Noble liquid detectors (scintillation, ionization, double-phase)
  • Photoemission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematical Physics
  • Instrumentation


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