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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Apr 6;108(14):143401. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Muonium emission into vacuum from mesoporous thin films at cryogenic temperatures.

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Institute for Particle Physics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.


We report on muonium (Mu) emission into vacuum following μ(+) implantation in mesoporous thin SiO(2) films. We obtain a yield of Mu into vacuum of (38±4)% at 250 K and (20±4)% at 100 K for 5 keV μ(+) implantation energy. From the implantation energy dependence of the Mu vacuum yield we determine the Mu diffusion constants in these films: D(Mu)(250 K)=(1.6±0.1)×10(-4)  cm(2)/s and D(Mu)(100 K)=(4.2±0.5)×10(-5) cm(2)/s. Describing the diffusion process as quantum mechanical tunneling from pore to pore, we reproduce the measured temperature dependence ∼T(3/2) of the diffusion constant. We extract a potential barrier of (-0.3±0.1) eV which is consistent with our computed Mu work function in SiO(2) of [-0.3,-0.9] eV. The high Mu vacuum yield, even at low temperatures, represents an important step toward next generation Mu spectroscopy experiments.

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