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Precise calorimetric reconstruction of 5-50 MeV electrons in liquid argon time projection chambers (LArTPCs) will enable the study of astrophysical neutrinos in DUNE and could enhance the physics reach of oscillation analyses. Liquid argon scintillation light has the potential to improve energy reconstruction for low-energy electrons over charge-based measurements alone. Here we demonstrate light-augmented calorimetry for low-energy electrons in a single-phase LArTPC using a sample of Michel electrons from decays of stopping cosmic muons in the LArIAT experiment at Fermilab. Michel electron energy spectra are reconstructed using both a traditional charge-based approach as well as a more holistic approach that incorporates both charge and light. A maximum-likelihood fitter, using LArIAT's well-tuned simulation, is developed for combining these quantities to achieve optimal energy resolution. A sample of isolated electrons is simulated to better determine the energy resolution expected for astrophysical electron-neutrino charged-current interaction final states. In LArIAT, which has very low wire noise and an average light yield of 18 pe/MeV, an energy resolution of σ/E≃9.3%/E 1.3% is achieved. Samples are then generated with varying wire noise levels and light yields to gauge the impact of light-augmented calorimetry in larger LArTPCs. At a charge-readout signal-to-noise of S/N≃30, for example, the energy resolution for electrons below 40 MeV is improved by ≈10%, ≈20%, and ≈40% over charge-only calorimetry for average light yields of 10 pe/MeV, 20 pe/MeV, and 100 pe/MeV, respectively.

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Physical Review D