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The large COMPASS polarized solid ammonia target for Drell-Yan measurements with a pion beam

Publication at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics |


The transversely polarized target (PT) of the COMPASS (NA58) collaboration at CERN has been used for Drell-Yan measurements in 2015 and 2018. The transverse spin structure of the proton has been studied using a negative pion beam and a solid ammonia target.

Employing the dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) method, proton polarization values of more than 80% have been routinely achieved after one day, at a homogeneous magnetic field of 2.5 T and using a He-3/He-4 dilution refrigerator. During the data-taking the target operates in a transversely oriented magnetic dipole field at 0.6 T.

This so-called frozen spin operation mode without the DNP pumping process leads to a slow depolarization of the target material, which is further accelerated by the heat input of the pion beam, produced secondary particles and radiation damage effects to the target material. Ammonia has the highest resistance against radiation-induced depolarization among known solid target materials.

The proton polarization has been measured by the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Relaxation times of about 1100 h have been observed for the proton polarization resulting in an average polarization between 68% and 76% during about two weeks long data-taking periods.

To achieve a systematic uncertainty of the polarization Delta P/P as low as 3.2% and a statistical one of less than 1.8% two large target cells with appropriate positioning of the NMR-coils have been built.