Characterization of deuterium clusters mixed with helium gas for an application in beam-target-fusion experiments
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We measured the average deuterium cluster size within a mixture of deuterium clusters and helium gas by detecting Rayleigh scattering signals. The average cluster size from the gas mixture was comparable to that from a pure deuterium gas when the total backing pressure and temperature of the gas mixture were the same as those of the pure deuterium gas. According to these measurements, the average size of deuterium clusters depends on the total pressure and not the partial pressure of deuterium in the gas mixture. To characterize the cluster source size further, a Faraday cup was used to measure the average kinetic energy of the ions resulting from Coulomb explosion of deuterium clusters upon irradiation by an intense ultrashort pulse. The deuterium ions indeed acquired a similar amount of energy from the mixture target, corroborating our measurements of the average cluster size. As the addition of helium atoms did not reduce the resulting ion kinetic energies, the reported results confirm the utility of using a known cluster source for beam-target-fusion experiments by introducing a secondary target gas.