Detection system for neutron β decay correlations in the UCNB and Nab experiments

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We describe a detection system designed for precise measurements of angular correlations in neutron β decay. The system is based on thick, large area, highly segmented silicon detectors developed in collaboration with Micron Semiconductor, Ltd. The prototype system meets specifications for β electron detection with energy thresholds below 10 keV, energy resolution of ∼3 keV FWHM, and rise time of ∼50 ns with 19 of the 127 detector pixels instrumented. Using ultracold neutrons at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, we have demonstrated the coincident detection of β particles and recoil protons from neutron β decay. The fully instrumented detection system will be implemented in the UCNB and Nab experiments to determine the neutron β decay parameters B, a, and b.

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