Electric charging effects on insulating surfaces in cryogenic liquids

Wolfgang Korsch, Mark Broering, Ashok Timsina, Kent K.H. Leung, Joshua Abney, Dmitry Budker, Bradley W. Filippone, Jiachen He, Suman Kandu, Mark McCrea, Murchhana Roy, Christopher Swank, Weijun Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a new technique to study the adsorption and desorption of ions and electrons on insulating surfaces in the presence of strong electric fields in cryoliquids. The experimental design consists of a compact cryostat coupled with a sensitive electro-optical Kerr device to monitor the stability of the electric fields. The behavior of nitrogen and helium ions on a poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) surface was compared to a PMMA surface coated with a mixture of deuterated polystyrene and deuterated polybutadiene. Ion accumulation and removal on these surfaces were unambiguously observed. Within the precision of the data, both surfaces behave similarly for the physisorbed ions. The setup was also used to measure the (quasi-)static dielectric constant of PMMA at T ≈ 70 K. The impact of the ion adsorption on the search for a neutron permanent electric dipole moment in a cryogenic environment, such as the nEDM@SNS experiment, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043101
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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