NMR measurements of hyperpolarized 3He gas diffusion in high porosity silica aerogels

Abstract : Hyperpolarized 3He is used to nondestructively probe by NMR the structure of custom-made and commercial silica aerogels (97% and 98.5% porous). Large spin-echo signals are obtained at room temperature and very low magnetic field (2mT) even with small mounts of gas. Attenuation induced by applied field gradients results from the combined effects of gas diffusion and confinement by the porous medium on atomic motion. Nitrogen is used as a buffer gas to reach equivalent 3He pressures ranging from 5 mbars to 3.5 bars. The observed pressure dependence suggests a non-uniform structure of the aerogels on length scales up to tens of micrometers. A description by broad phenomenological distributions of mean free paths is proposed, and quantitatively discussed by comparison to numerical calculations. The investigated aerogel samples exhibit different effective diffusion characteristics despite comparable nominal porosities.
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Contributor : Geneviève Tastevin <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - 12:04:12 PM
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Geneviève Tastevin, Pierre-Jean Nacher. NMR measurements of hyperpolarized 3He gas diffusion in high porosity silica aerogels. Journal of Chemical Physics, American Institute of Physics, 2005, 123, pp.064506. ⟨10.1063/1.1997130⟩. ⟨hal-00008662⟩



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