Studying chemistry using trapped ions


This was a presentation about studies of low-temperature chemistry using ion traps at a seminar of the Quantum Systems Engineering Group (Oxford Physics).


Paul traps and their multi-pole derivatives provide us means for studying ion-neutral reactions with a high sensitivity. Especially in a combination with cryo-coolers, many results with a high relevance to the chemistry of the interstellar matter were gained. So far, only thermally averaged rate coefficients for specific combinations of quantum states of the reactants have been measured.

Our current efforts are directed towards a resolution of relative motional states and other quantum states such as hyperfine states that were impossible to be resolved before. We are constructing a cryogenic Paul trap that will contain ions cooled down to sub-Kelvin temperatures employing Doppler cooling technique. Neutral reactants with a narrow velocity distribution will be introduced from Zeeman and Stark decelerators. I will present preliminary results from proof-of-concept experiments here.

Recombination of electrons with ions at sub-Kelvin temperatures has been studied mainly using large ion-storage rings. Here, I will present an idea to use a new kind of Paul trap to study phenomena that can not be studied using such merged-beam techniques.