Space-charge effects in liquid argon ionization chambers

J. P. Rutherfoord, R. B. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We have uniformly irradiated liquid argon ionization chambers with betas from high-activity 90Sr sources. The radiation environment is similar to that in the liquid argon calorimeters which are part of the ATLAS detector installed at CERNs Large Hadron Collider (LHC). We measured the resulting ionization current over a wide range of applied potential for two different source activities and for three different chamber gaps. These studies provide operating experience at exceptionally high ionization rates. In particular they indicate a stability at the 0.1% level for these calorimeters over years of operation at the full LHC luminosity when operated in the normal mode at an electric field E=1.0kV/mm. We can operate these chambers in the normal mode or in the space-charge limited regime and thereby determine the transition point between the two. This transition point is parameterized by a positive argon ion mobility of μ+=0.08±0.02mm2/Vs at a temperature of 88.0±0.5 K and at a pressure of 1.02±0.02 bar. In the space-charge limited regime the ionization currents are degraded and show signs of instability. At the highest electric fields in our study (6.7 kV/mm) the ionization current is still slowly rising with increasing electric field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
StatePublished - Mar 11 2015


  • Liquid argon calorimetry
  • Noble liquid ionization chambers
  • Space-charge effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


Dive into the research topics of 'Space-charge effects in liquid argon ionization chambers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this