Development of low-background photomultiplier tubes for liquid xenon detectors

XMASS Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We successfully developed a new photomultiplier tube (PMT) with a three-inch diameter, convex-shaped photocathode, R13111. Its prominent features include good performance and ultra-low radioactivity. The convex-shaped photocathode realized a large photon acceptance and good timing resolution. Low radioactivity was achieved by three factors: (1) the glass material was synthesized using low-radioactive-contamination material; (2) the photocathode was produced with 39K-enriched potassium; and (3) the purest grade of aluminum material was used for the vacuum seal. As a result each R13111 PMT contains only about 0.4 mBq of 226Ra, less than 2 mBq of 238U, 0.3 mBq of 228Ra, 2 mBq of 40K and 0.2 mBq of 60Co. We also examined and resolved the intrinsic leakage of Xe gas into PMTs that was observed in several older models. We thus succeeded in developing a PMT that has low background, large angular acceptance with high collection efficiency, good timing resolution, and long-term stable operation. These features are highly desirable for experiments searching for rare events beyond the standard model, such as dark matter particle interactions and neutrinoless double beta decay events.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberP09027
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • APDs
  • CCDs
  • CMOS imagers etc
  • Double-phase
  • EBCCDs
  • EMCCDs
  • G-APDs
  • Ionization
  • Noble liquid detectors scintillation
  • PIN diodes
  • Photon detectors for UV
  • Si-PMTs
  • Visible and IR photons (solid-state)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Mathematical Physics


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