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Science goes underground, by Susana Cebrian (UNIZAR)


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In the search for rare, weakly interactive phenomena it is vital to install detectors in underground laboratories and carefully select the materials for the components and the passive shields in order to reduce the background induced by radioactive contamination. High-purity copper is a suitable candidate due to its low levels in primordial radioisotopes and its favorable mechanical, electrical and thermal properties.

The copper electroforming process allows to obtain pieces with the requiered shape and thickness as well as an excellent radiopurity. The electroforming process method consists in manufacturing parts by the deposition of a metal (copper) into a mold inside a electrolitic bath. Once the thickness and rigidity of the copper layer needed are reached, the mold is removed and the final independent part is obtained. Besides, even when higher purity is needed, additional electrolitic and chemical improvements can be introduced in combination with the final cleaning process.






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