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Sizes of pure and doped helium droplets from single shot x-ray imaging.

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Advancements in x-ray free-electron lasers on producing ultrashort, ultrabright, and coherent x-ray pulses enable single-shot imaging of fragile nanostructures, such as superfluid helium droplets. This imaging technique gives unique access to the sizes and shapes of individual droplets. In the past, such droplet characteristics have only been indirectly inferred by ensemble averaging techniques. Here, we report on the size distributions of both pure and doped droplets collected from single-shot x-ray imaging and produced from the free-jet expansion of helium through a 5 μm diameter nozzle at 20 bars and nozzle temperatures ranging from 4.2 to 9 K. This work extends the measurement of large helium nanodroplets containing 109-1011 atoms, which are shown to follow an exponential size distribution. Additionally, we demonstrate that the size distributions of the doped droplets follow those of the pure droplets at the same stagnation condition but with smaller average sizes.

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