Aerogel IC3120 Under High Pressure Exerted Mechanically and by Nitrogen
M. Gorgol and B. Zgardzińska
Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Institute of Physics, Department of Nuclear Methods, pl. M. Curie-Skłodowskiej 1, 20-031 Lublin, Poland
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Highly porous IC3120 silica aerogel was subjected to the high pressure up to 450 MPa while the positron annihilation lifetime spectra were collected. The pressure was delivered to the investigated samples in two ways: by pistons and by gas (nitrogen) penetrating the aerogel. The evolution of all PALS parameters was discussed. With the increase of the pressure, shortening of ortho-positronium lifetimes (different, depending on the pressure method introduced) was observed. Similarity between the dependence of the longest-lived o-Ps component lifetime on the pressure, for the sample affected with nitrogen molecules and pure nitrogen was observed. It suggests, that the nitrogen fills the largest free volumes of the aerogel. The pressure exerted mechanically causes much smaller decrease of free volume available for positronium. The comparison of PALS results with the electron microscopy images, obtained after removing the pressure, confirmed that more intense and lasting changes were caused by affecting the aerogel with the pistons.

DOI: 10.12693/APhysPolA.132.1531
PACS numbers: 78.70.Bj, 36.10.Dr, 61.43.Gt, 74.62.Fj