Metastability exchange optical pumping of 3He gas up to hundreds of millibars at 4.7 Tesla

Abstract : Metastability exchange optical pumping (MEOP) is experimentally investigated in 3He at 4.7 T, at room temperature and for gas pressures ranging from 1 to 267 mbar. The 23S - 23P transition at 1083 nm is used for optical pumping and for detection of the laser-induced orientation of 3He atoms in the rf discharge plasmas. The collisional broadening rate is measured (12.0 ± 0.4 MHz.mbar-1 FHWM) and taken into account for accurate absorption-based measurements of both nuclear polarization in the ground state and atom number density in the metastable state. The results lay the ground for a comprehensive assessment of the efficiency of this method, by comparison with achievements at lower magnetic field strengths (1 mT - 2 T) over an extended range of operating conditions. Stronger hyperfine decoupling in the optically pumped metastable state is observed to systematically lead to slower build-up of nuclear orientation in the ground state, as expected. The nuclear polarizations obtained at 4.7 T still decrease at high gas pressures but in a less dramatic way than observed at 2 T in the same sealed glass cells. To date, thanks to the linear increase in gas densities, they correspond to the highest nuclear magnetizations achieved by MEOP in pure 3He gas. The improved efficiency puts less demanding requirements for compression stages in polarized gas production systems and makes high-field operation particularly attractive for magnetic resonance imaging of the lungs, for instance.
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A. Nikiel-Osuchowska, Guilhem Collier, Bartosz Glowacz, Tadeusz Palasz, Z. Olejniczak, et al.. Metastability exchange optical pumping of 3He gas up to hundreds of millibars at 4.7 Tesla. The European Physical Journal D : Atomic, molecular, optical and plasma physics, EDP Sciences, 2013, 67 (9), pp.200. ⟨10.1140/epjd/e2013-40153-y⟩. ⟨hal-00790331v2⟩

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