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Xenon Recirculation-Purification with a Heat Exchanger

By K. L. Giboni, E. Aprile, B. Choi, T. Haruyama, R. F. Lang, K. E. Lim, A. J. Melgarejo and G. Plante


Liquid-xenon based particle detectors have been dramatically growing in size during the last years, and are now exceeding the one-ton scale. The required high xenon purity is usually achieved by continuous recirculation of xenon gas through a high-temperature getter. This challenges the traditional way of cooling these large detectors, since in a thermally well insulated detector, most of the cooling power is spent to compensate losses from recirculation. The phase change during recondensing requires five times more cooling power than cooling the gas from ambient temperature to -100C (173 K). Thus, to reduce the cooling power requirements for large detectors, we propose to use the heat from the purified incoming gas to evaporate the outgoing xenon gas, by means of a heat exchanger. Generally, a heat exchanger would appear to be only of very limited use, since evaporation and liquefaction occur at zero temperature difference. However, the use of a recirculation pump reduces the pressure of the extracted liquid, forces it to evaporate, and thus cools it down. We show that this temperature difference can be used for an efficient heat exchange process. We investigate the use of a commercial parallel plate heat exchanger with a small liquid xenon detector. Although we expected to be limited by the available cooling power to flow rates of about 2 SLPM, rates in excess of 12 SLPM can easily be sustained, limited only by the pump speed and the impedance of the flow loop. The heat exchanger operates with an efficiency of (96.8 +/- 0.5)%. This opens the possibility for fast xenon gas recirculation in large-scale experiments, while minimizing thermal losses.Comment: 10 pages, 3 figure

Topics: Physics - Instrumentation and Detectors, High Energy Physics - Experiment
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/1748-0221/6/03/P03002
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