The R&D program for ArgonCube draws heavily from the collaboration's previous efforts. Particularly, the experience gained during the construction and operation of ArgonTube, the realisation of the cold electronics and the constructions of MicroBooNE and ArgoNeuT.
The R&D program can be split into two phases:
Phase 1. The construction of several prototype TPC modules, and the development of novel readout technologies. The different readout techniques will be scrutinised and the basic technological choices defined, for both charge readout and light detection. Several different TPC modules will be built. Module extraction-insertion procedures will be tested alongside argon flow management. The prototypes will be deployed within a cryostat in Bern, and exposed to cosmic rays. The modules and the cryostat will then move to CERN, for testing in a charged particle beam.
- Mechanical definition of the mini module layout with detailed design of all services (field shapers, feedthroughs, internal services and top/bottom flanges) and cryogenic components.
- Small-scale pre-prototypes of the charge readout and light collection ready for tests and assessment.
- First mini-module constructed and ready for cosmic-ray exposure in Bern.
- All mini-modules constructed and ready for cosmic-ray exposure.
- Cryostat equipped with mini modules arrives at CERN to be installed on an SPS North Area beam line for further beam tests.
Phase 2. A larger prototype will be constructed and characterised as a full demonstrator of the technology. The main goal is to prove the successful modular approach, and assess the technical performance and competitiveness of the technology, as well as its scalability towards a massive neutrino detector. This large size prototype (~180 ton) will be integrated at CERN and exposed to beams at the CENF infrastructure, utilising new cryogenics, DAQ, and slow control infrastructure.
- Detailed technical proposal, based on Phase 1 results, presented to the CERN SPSC for approval.
- First full module ready at CERN in a dedicated clean room
- Insertion of all modules into the cryostat.
- If results are positive as expected, a TDR could be submitted for a large detector at LBNF or for a possible upgrade of the SBN detector complex.