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Uranium Oxide Gaseous Ion and Neutral Infrared Spectroscopy

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Final technical rept. 1 Jan 1982-31 Dec 1983

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Spectra of gaseous uranium oxide vibrational-rotational bands have never been observed, in part because of the difficulties in vaporizing uranium. Band strengths are needed by the Defense Nuclear Agency to predict infrared backgrounds as viewed from satellites following atmospheric nuclear bursts. Aerodyne Research, Inc. has developed an apparatus to do these measurements, using multipass diode laser absorption spectroscopy. The goal of measuring line positions and strengths was not achieved, but the apparatus constructed shows good promise of providing at least some infrared data with only minor modifications. In the apparatus, uranium vaporized by an electron beam is entrained in a carrier gas. It reacts with oxygen in the flow before being carried into the observation region, a multipass or White cell where tunable diode laser infrared absorption by the oxide molecules takes place. Hollow cathode lamp absorption measurements of the uranium vapor density are made at right angles. Variations in oxygen concentration and flow velocity allow large variations in the relative amounts of different uranium oxide species. Development of the apparatus has progressed to the point of being able to regularly obtain uranium vapor densities in the observation region of up to 5 x 10 to the 10th power cm to the minus 3rd power, with run times of an hour and more. When the oxygen content of the flow is adjusted for maximum U0 production, the resulting U0 density is predicted to be about 1 x 10 to the 10th power cm to the minus 3rd power.

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  • Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy

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