We have investigated all possible disturbances of a supersonic expansion by the apparatus, which are background interaction, skimmer interaction, shielding of the virtual source by the skimmer, and the penetration depth of residual gas atoms into the expansion. A quantitative description of these loss processes can be given in terms of the collision processes involved. This model can be applied to prediet the properties of any supersonic beam in the design phase. Now one can perform an absolute calibration of a skimmed supersonic expansion by a sophisticated analysis of relative beam intensity measurements. An accurate calibration of the intensity of the secondary beam is difficult. We use a well-determined geometry of which experimental and theoretical data on the undisturbed flow patern are available. The accuracy achieved with this methods in 34. © 1984 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.
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