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Title: An apparatus for studying electrical breakdown in liquid helium at 0.4 K and testing electrode materials for the neutron electric dipole moment experiment at the Spallation Neutron Source

In this study, 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 liquid helium of ρ V > 5 × 10 18 Ω cm. This lower bound is 5 times larger than the bound previously measured. Finally, we report the design, construction, and operational experience of the apparatus, as well as initial results
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [5] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States). Loomis Lab. of Physics
  4. Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (United States). Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  5. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). W.K. Kellogg Radiation Lab.
  6. Brown Univ., Providence, RI (United States). Dept. of Physics
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0034-6748; KB0401022; ERKBP16
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; AC52-06NA25396
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Review of Scientific Instruments
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 87; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 0034-6748
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26)
Country of Publication:
United States