The number and diameter of microscopically visible alpha-particle tracks which can be etched in the surface of sensitive plastic foils such as cellulose triacetate are increased by the presence of oxygen. Pre- or posttreatment of foils with water or humid air increases the etching speed but not the foils' sensitivity. Treatment of foils with diluted H2 O2 increases the sensitivity slightly, but the etching speed considerably. Some parameters of the oxygen/humidity effect are described; its possible consequences for the interpretation of the latent track formation process and its practical applications are discussed briefly.

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