Positron cooling and annihilation in noble gases

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Positron cooling and annihilation in room temperature noble gases is simulated using accurate scattering and annihilation cross sections calculated with many-body theory, enabling the first simultaneous probing of the energy dependence of the scattering and annihilation cross sections. A strikingly small fraction of positrons is shown to survive to thermalization: ∼0.1 in He, ∼0 in Ne, ∼0.15 in Ar, ∼0.05 in Kr and ∼0.01 in Xe. ForXe, the time-varying annihilation rate Z¯eff (τ) is shown to be highly sensitive to the depletion of the momentum distribution due to annihilation, conclusively explaining the long-standing discrepancy between gas-cell andtrap-based measurements. Overall, the use of the accurate atomic data gives Z¯eff (τ) in close agreement with experiment for all noble gases except Ne, the experiment for which is proffered to have suffered from incomplete knowledge of the fraction of positrons surviving to thermalization and/or the presence of impurities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number203403
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2017


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