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New ideas in neutrino detection


What is new in the field of neutrino detection? In addition to new projects probing both the low and high ends of the neutrino energy scale, an inexpensive, effective technique is being developed to allow tagging of antineutrinos in water Cherenkov (WC) detectors via the addition to water of a solute with a large neutron cross-section and energetic gamma daughters. Gadolinium is an excellent candidate since in recent years it has become very inexpensive, now less than $8 per kilogram in the form of commercially available gadolinium trichloride. This non-toxic, non-reactive substance is highly soluble in water. Neutron capture on gadolinium yields an 8.0 MeV gamma cascade easily seen in detectors like Super-Kamiokande. The uses of GdCl3 as a possible upgrade for the Super-Kamiokande detector - with a view toward improving its performance as an antineutrino detector for supernova neutrinos and reactor neutrinos - are discussed, as are the ongoing R&D efforts which aim to make this dream a reality within the next two years.

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