Postprint version. Published in Physics of Atomic Nuclei, Volume 69, Issue 12, December 1, 2006, pages 2083-2089.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1134/S1063778806120118.
CUORICINO is an array of 62 TeO2 bolometers with a total mass of 40.7 kg (11.2 kg of 130Te), operated at about 10 mK to search for ββ(0ν) of 130Te. The detectors are organized as a 14-story tower and intended as a slightly modified version of one of the 19 towers of the CUORE project, a proposed tightly packed array of 988 TeO2 bolometers (741 kg of total mass of TeO2) for ultralow-background searches on neutrinoless double-beta decay, cold dark matter, solar axions, and rare nuclear decays. Started in April 2003 at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS), CUORICINO data taking was stopped in November 2003 to repair the readout wiring system of the 62 bolometers. Restarted in spring 2004, CUORICINO is presently the most sensitive running experiment on neutrinoless double-beta decay. No evidence for ββ(0ν) decay has been found so far and a new lower limit, T 1 2/0ν ≥ 1.8 × 1024 yr (90% C.L.), is set, corresponding to 〈m ν〉 ≤ 0.2–1.1 eV, depending on the theoretical nuclear matrix elements used in the analysis. Detector performance, operational procedures, and background analysis results are reviewed. The expected performance and sensitivity of CUORE is also discussed.
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