An apparatus for studying electrical breakdown in liquid helium at 0.4 K and testing electrode materials for the SNS nEDM experiment

Ito, T M, Ramsey, J C, Yao, W, Beck, D H, Cianciolo, V, Clayton, S M, Crawford, C, Currie, S A, Filippone, B W, Griffith, W C, Makela, M, Schmid, R, Seidel, G M, Tang, Z, Wagner, D, Wei, W and Williamson, S E (2016) An apparatus for studying electrical breakdown in liquid helium at 0.4 K and testing electrode materials for the SNS nEDM experiment. Review of Scientific Instruments, 87 (4). 045113. ISSN 0034-6748

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Abstract

We have constructed an apparatus to study DC electrical breakdown in liquid helium at temperatures as low as 0.4 K and at pressures between the saturated vapor pressure and ∼600 torr. The apparatus can house a set of electrodes that are 12 cm in diameter with a gap of 1 − 2 cm between them, and a potential up to ±50 kV can be applied to each electrode. Initial results demonstrated that it is possible to apply fields exceeding 100 kV/cm in a 1 cm gap between two electropolished stainless steel electrodes 12 cm in diameter for a wide range of pressures at 0.4 K. We also measured the current between two electrodes. Our initial results, I < 1 pA at 45 kV, correspond to a lower bound on the effective volume resistivity of LHe of ρ_V > 5 × 1018 Ω·cm. This lower bound is 5 times larger than the bound previously measured. We report the design, construction, and operational experience of the apparatus, as well as initial results.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC0770 Nuclear and particle physics. Atomic energy. Radioactivity > QC0793 Elementary particle physics
Depositing User: William Griffith
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 10:10
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2017 21:44
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/62041

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