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Influence of source parameters on the longitudinal phase-space distribution of a pulsed cryogenic beam of barium fluoride molecules

M C MooijH L BethlemA Boeschoten ...+12 Y Yin. (NL-eEDM collaboration)
Jan 2024
Recently, we have demonstrated a method to record the longitudinal phase-space distribution of a pulsed cryogenic buffer gas cooled beam of barium fluoride molecules. In this paper, we use this method to determine the influence of various source parameters. Besides the expected dependence on temperature and pressure, the forward velocity of the molecules is strongly correlated with the time they exit the cell, revealing the dynamics of the gas inside the cell. Three observations are particularly noteworthy: (1) The velocity of the barium fluoride molecules increases rapidly as a function of time, reaches a maximum 50-200 $\mu$s after the ablation pulse and then decreases exponentially. We attribute this to the buffer gas being heated up by the plume of hot atoms released from the target by the ablation pulse and subsequently being cooled down via conduction to the cell walls. (2) The time constant associated with the exponentially decreasing temperature increases when the source is used for a longer period of time, which we attribute to the formation of a layer of isolating dust on the walls of the cell. By thoroughly cleaning the cell, the time constant is reset to its initial value. (3) The velocity of the molecules at the trailing end of the molecular pulse depends on the length of the cell. For short cells, the velocity is significantly higher than expected from the sudden freeze model. We attribute this to the target remaining warm over the duration of the molecular pulse giving rise to a temperature gradient within the cell. Our observations will help to optimize the source parameters for producing the most intense molecular beam at the target velocity.
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