The CAPTAIN Detector and Physics Program

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The Cryogenic Apparatus for Precision Tests of Argon Interactions with Neutrinos (CAPTAIN) program is designed to make measurements of scientific importance to long-baseline neutrino physics and physics topics that will be explored by large underground detectors. The CAPTAIN detector is a liquid argon TPC deployed in a portable and evacuable cryostat. Five tons of liquid argon are instrumented with a 2,000 channel liquid argon TPC and a photon detection system. Subsequent to the commissioning phase, the detector will collect data in a high-energy neutron beamline that is part of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center to measure cross-sections of spallation products that are backgrounds to measurements of neutrinos from a supernova burst, cross-sections of events that mimic the electron neutrino appearance signal in long-baseline neutrino physics and neutron signatures to constrain neutrino energy reconstruction in LBNE's long-baseline program. Subsequent to the neutron running, the CAPTAIN detector will be moved to a neutrino source. Two possibilities are an on-axis run in the NuMI beamline at FNAL and a run in the neutrino source produced by the SNS. An on-axis run at NuMI produces more than one million events of interest in a two or three year run at neutrino energies between 1 and 10 GeV - complementary to the MicroBooNE experiment, which will measure similar interactions at a lower energy range - 0.5 to 2 GeV. At the SNS the neutrinos result from the decays of stopped positively charged pions and muons yielding a broad spectrum up to 50 MeV. If located close to the spallation target, CAPTAIN can detect several thousand events per year in the same neutrino energy regime where neutrinos from a supernova burst are. Measurements at the SNS yield a first measurement of the cross-section of neutrinos on argon in this important energy regime.


Lead author: Hans Berns

Corresponding author: Christopher Mauger

Collaboration: CAPTAIN