Article featured on the front cover of Review of Scientific Instruments

Published on

A project led by Chloe Miossec, a PhD student in the condensed matter physics cluster, along with postdoctoral research associate Dr Rahul Pandey and group leader Dr Brianna Heazlewood, has been featured on the front cover of the American Institute of Physics journal Review of Scientific Instruments. The manuscript, entitled “Design and characterization of a cryogenic linear Paul ion trap for ion–neutral reaction studies”, presents the first cryogenic linear Paul ion trap that includes an integrated mass spectrometer.

At the centre of the apparatus is a linear Paul ion trap, where ions can be confined for reaction studies. The ion trap is encased within two nested temperature stages attached to a cryocooler, enabling the trap region to reach temperatures below 9 kelvin. Vibrations from the cryocooler cold head are minimized through the use of vibration-damping elements, including a Heim column and dual-frame set-up. A key element of the apparatus is an off-axis parabolic mirror relay system, which removes the need for direct line-of-sight access to the trap centre to image fluorescence emitted by the laser-cooled ions—allowing a flight tube to be added for recording time-of-flight mass spectra. The apparatus is the first experimental set-up that has been specifically designed for studying the reactions of molecular ions in Coulomb crystals under low temperature (<10 K) conditions.