Radiation physics and chemistry vol:68 issue:3-4 pages:507-510
Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy is a powerful technique for the study of free volume in polymers. The lifetime of ortho-positronium (o-Ps), a bound state of an electron and a positron, can be used to assess the cavity size, while the intensity can be used to characterize the number of cavities. In the Fast, results have been published, which suffer from artifacts, whereby the drop in o-Ps intensity is not related to a decrease in the number of cavities. One of the possible artifacts is the build-up of an internal charge during long-term exposure to positron irradiation, which affects the o-Ps intensity. In this study, we focus on the charging created in polycarbonate by positron radiation, which we investigated by the laser intensity modulation method and by charge-decay experiments, both isothermally and with thermal stimulated discharge. From these measurements we conclude that: (1) the o-Ps intensity decrease during prolonged positron irradiation is due to the accumulation of a space charge; (2) in reverse, changes in the o-Ps intensity may be used to probe electric fields in dielectrics. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.