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Diffusion of muonic hydrogen in hydrogen gas and the measurement of the 1$s$ hyperfine splitting of muonic hydrogen

J. Nuber, A. Adamczak, M. Abdou Ahmed, L. Affolter, F. D. Amaro, P. Amaro, A. Antognini, P. Carvalho, Y. -H. Chang, T. -L. Chen, W. -L. Chen, L. M. P. Fernandes, M. Ferro, D. Goeldi, T. Graf, M. Guerra, T. W. Hänsch, C. A. O. Henriques, M. Hildebrandt, P. Indelicato, O. Kara, K. Kirch, A. Knecht, F. Kottmann, Y. -W. Liu, J. Machado, M. Marszalek, R. D. P. Mano, C. M. B. Monteiro, F. Nez, A. Ouf, N. Paul, R. Pohl, E. Rapisarda, J. M. F. dos Santos, J. P. Santos, P. A. O. C. Silva, L. Sinkunaite, J. -T. Shy, K. Schuhmann, S. Rajamohanan, A. Soter, L. Sustelo, D. Taqqu, L. -B. Wang, F. Wauters, P. Yzombard, M. Zeyen, J. Zhang

SciPost Phys. Core 6, 057 (2023) · published 23 August 2023


The CREMA collaboration is pursuing a measurement of the ground-state hyperfine splitting (HFS) in muonic hydrogen ($\mu$p) with 1 ppm accuracy by means of pulsed laser spectroscopy. In the proposed experiment, the $\mu$p atom is excited by a laser pulse from the singlet to the triplet hyperfine sub-levels, and is quenched back to the singlet state by an inelastic collision with a H$_2$ molecule. The resulting increase of kinetic energy after this cycle modifies the $\mu$p atom diffusion in the hydrogen gas and the arrival time of the $\mu$p atoms at the target walls. This laser-induced modification of the arrival times is used to expose the atomic transition. In this paper we present the simulation of the $\mu$p diffusion in the H$_2$ gas which is at the core of the experimental scheme. These simulations have been implemented with the Geant4 framework by introducing various low-energy processes including the motion of the H$_2$ molecules, i.e. the effects related with the hydrogen target temperature. The simulations have been used to optimize the hydrogen target parameters (pressure, temperatures and thickness) and to estimate signal and background rates. These rates allow to estimate the maximum time needed to find the resonance and the statistical accuracy of the spectroscopy experiment.

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