Research efforts ranging from studies of solid helium to searches for a neutron electric dipole moment require isotopically purified helium with a ratio of He3 to He4 at levels below that which can be measured using traditional mass spectroscopy techniques. We demonstrate an approach to such a measurement using accelerator mass spectroscopy, reaching the 10-14 level of sensitivity, several orders of magnitude more sensitive than other techniques. Measurements of He3/He4 in samples relevant to the measurement of the neutron lifetime indicate the need for substantial corrections. We also argue that there is a clear path forward to sensitivity increases of at least another order of magnitude.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Physical Review C
Mumm, H., Huber, M., Bauder, W., Abrams, N., Deibel, C., Huffer, C., Huffman, P., Schelhammer, K., Janssens, R., Jiang, C., Scott, R., Pardo, R., Rehm, K., Vondrasek, R., Swank, C., O'Shaughnessy, C., Paul, M., & Yang, L. (2016). High-sensitivity measurement of He 3 - He 4 isotopic ratios for ultracold neutron experiments. Physical Review C, 93 (6) https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevC.93.065502