Ion-induced nucleation by cosmic rays influenced by solar modulation is of interest, and several studies with radioactive sources or accelerator beams have been performed. We focused on ionization with high-linear energy transfer (LET) particles, such as protons, neutrons, and ions, in secondary cosmic rays and the ion density of the secondary cosmic rays near the ground using the excel-based program for calculating atmospheric cosmic-ray spectrum (EXPACS). According to the calculation, not only muons but also protons and neutrons leave substantial traces of solar modulation at an altitude of 3 km from the ground. To verify the ion-induced nucleation by these secondary high-LET cosmic rays, a chamber experiment was conducted at the accelerator facility HIMAC. Using a chamber with a capacity of 75 L, experiments were conducted by irradiating protons and nitrogen ion beams with a constant energy of 180 MeV/u with varying intensity.
The experimental results confirm that the ion density and aerosol density increased as the beam intensity increased. The aerosol density was found to be proportional to the ion density, but irrelevant to the ionization density. It was concluded that the ion-induced nucleation by high-LET secondary cosmic rays, such as protons and neutrons, provides no evidence of enhancement owing to ionization density and cannot account for the claimed variation of cloud formation due to the solar modulation.