Fracture processes studied in CRESST

J. Åström, F. Pröbst, P. C F Di Stefano, L. Stodolsky, J. Timonen, C. Bucci, S. Cooper, C. Cozzini, F. v. Feilitzsch, H. Kraus, J. Marchese, O. Meier, U. Nagel, Y. Ramachers, W. Seidel, M. Sisti, S. Uchaikin, L. Zerle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the early stages of running of the CRESST dark matter search with sapphire crystals as detectors, an unexpectedly high rate of signal pulses appeared. Their origin was finally traced to fracture events in the sapphire due to the very tight clamping of the detectors. During extensive runs the energy and time of each event was recorded, providing large data sets for such phenomena. We believe this is the first time that the energy release in fracture has been accurately measured on a microscopic event-by-event basis. The energy distributions appear to follow a power law, d N / d E ∝ E- β, similar to the Gutenberg-Richter power law for earthquake magnitudes, and after appropriate translation, with a similar exponent. In the time domain, the autocorrelation function shows time correlations lasting for substantial parts of an hour. Some remarks are made concerning the possible role of such mechanical stress release processes in the noise of sensitive cryodetectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-756
Number of pages3
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2006


  • Cryodetectors
  • Microfracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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