Low gas consumption fabrication of 3He solid targets for nuclear reactions

Asunción Fernández, Dirk Hufschmidt, Julien L. Colaux, Jose Javier Valiente-Dobón, Vanda Godinho, Maria C. Jiménez de Haro, David Feria, Andrés Gadea, Stéphane Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanoporous solids that stabilize trapped gas nanobubbles open new possibilities to fabricate solid targets for nuclear reactions. A methodology is described based on the magnetron sputtering (MS) technique operated under quasistatic flux conditions to produce such nanocomposites films with 3He contents of up to 16 at.% in an amorphous-silicon matrix. In addition to the characteristic low pressure (3–6 Pa) needed for the gas discharge, the method ensures almost complete reduction of the process gas flow during film fabrication. The method could produce similar materials to those obtained under classical dynamic flux conditions for MS. The drastic reduction (>99.5%) of the gas consumption is fundamental for the fabrication of targets with scarce and expensive gases. Si:3He and W:3He targets are presented together with their microstructural (scanning and transmission electron microscopy, SEM and TEM respectively) and compositional (Ion Beam Analysis, IBA) characterization. The 3He content achieved was over 1 × 1018 at/cm2 for film thicknesses between 1.5 and 3 μm for both Si and W matrices. First experiments to probe the stability of the targets for nuclear reaction studies in inverse kinematics configurations are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108337
JournalMaterials and Design
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020


  • He-3 solid targets
  • Inverse kinematics
  • Low gas consumption
  • Nuclear reactions
  • Quasistatic magnetron sputtering
  • Target stability


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