Experimental studies of wall interactions of adsorbed spin-polarized Xe131 nuclei

Z. Wu, W. Happer, M. Kitano, J. Daniels

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70 Scopus citations


We have made a quantitative study of nuclear spin relaxation of Xe131 atoms adsorbed on the surface of glass cells. By using highly asymmetric glass cells we have increased the wall-induced quadrupole splitting of the nuclear-spin sublevels of Xe131 atoms by almost two orders of magnitude over previously reported values. These large surface interactions were used to extract quantitative information about the electric-field gradients experienced by the nuclei of Xe131 atoms adsorbed on the glass surface and about the activation energies for surface adsorption. The experimental results indicate that the electric-field gradients at any surface site are nearly isotropic. The residual nonzero mean value of the fluctuating field gradient has cylindrical symmetry about the normal direction to the surface. The mean-field gradient along the surface normal direction is only 2.3% as large as the rms value. We find that silicone wall coatings, which slow down the relaxation of Xe129 nuclear spins, speed up the relaxation of Xe131 nuclear spins. This may be due to the nuclear quadrupole interactions of Xe131 atoms dissolved in the relatively thick silicone wall coatings. Measurements of the temperature dependence of the coherent wall interaction show that the activation energy (0.03 eV) for the coherent wall interaction in well-cured, hydrogen-free cells is about three times smaller than the activation energy (0.10 eV) in hydrided cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2774-2784
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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