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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Nov 1;111(18):183002. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Luminescence of oxygen atoms stimulated by metastable helium at cryogenic temperatures.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy and Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA.


We present investigations of the afterglow of oxygen-helium gas mixtures at cryogenic temperatures. The cooling of a helium jet containing trace amounts of oxygen after passing through a radio frequency discharge zone led to the observation of strong emissions from atomic oxygen. The effect results from the increasing efficiency of energy transfer from metastable helium atoms and molecules to oxygen impurities in the cold dense helium vapor. This effect might find an application for the detection of small quantities of the impurities in helium gas.

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