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Penning traps are devices for the storage of charged particles using a constant static magnetic field and a spatially inhomogeneous static electric field. This kind of trap is particularly well suited to precision measurements of properties of ions and stable subatomic particles which have electric charge. Recently this trap has been used in the physical realization of quantum computation and quantum information processing as well. Currently Penning traps are used at CERN to store antiprotons. The Penning Trap was originally designed by and named after F.M. Penning. Further development was done by Hans Georg Dehmelt who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1989 for his work.
Additional recommended knowledge
How it works
Penning traps use a strong homogeneous axial magnetic field to confine particles radially and a quadrupole electric field to confine the particles axially. The static electric potential can be generated using a set of three electrodes: a ring and two endcaps. In an ideal Penning trap the ring and endcaps are hyperboloids of revolution. For trapping of positive (negative) ions, the endcap electrodes are kept at a positive (negative) potential relative to the ring. This potential produces a saddle point in the centre of the trap, which traps ions along the axial direction. The electric field causes ions to oscillate (harmonically in the case of an ideal Penning trap) along the trap axis. The magnetic field in combination with the electric field causes charged particles to move in the radial plane with a motion which traces out an epitrochoid.
The orbital motion of ions in the radial plane is composed of two modes at frequencies which are called the magnetron and the modified cyclotron frequencies. These motions are similar to the deferent and epicycle, respectively, of the Ptolemaic model of the solar system. The sum of these two frequencies is the cyclotron frequency, which depends only on the ratio of electric charge to mass and on the strength of the magnetic field. This frequency can be measured very accurately and can be used to measure the masses of charged particles. Many of the highest-precision mass measurements (masses of the electron, proton, 2H, 20Ne and 28Si) come from Penning traps.
Buffer gas cooling, resistive cooling, and laser cooling are techniques to remove energy from ions in a Penning trap. Buffer gas cooling relies on collisions between the ions and neutral gas molecules that bring the ion energy closer the energy of the gas molecules. In resistive cooling, moving image charges in the electrodes are made to do work through an external resistor, effectively removing energy from the ions. Laser cooling can be used to remove energy from some kinds of ions in Penning traps. This technique requires ions with an appropriate electronic structure. Radiative cooling is the process by which the ions lose energy by creating electromagnetic waves by virtue of their acceleration in the magnetic field. This process dominates the cooling of electrons in Penning traps, but is very small and usually negligible for heavier particles.
Using the Penning trap can have advantages over the radio frequency trap (Paul trap). Firstly, in the Penning trap only static fields are applied and therefore there is no micro-motion and resultant heating of the ion due to the dynamic fields. Also, the Penning trap can be made larger whilst maintaining strong trapping. The trapped ion can then be held further away from the electrode surfaces. Interaction with patch potentials on the electrode surfaces can be responsible for heating and decoherence effects and these effects scale as a high power of the inverse distance between the ion and the electrode.
Fourier transform mass spectrometry
Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (also known as Fourier transform mass spectrometry), is a type of mass spectrometry used for determining the mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of ions based on the cyclotron frequency of the ions in a fixed magnetic field. The ions are trapped in a Penning trap where they are excited to a larger cyclotron radius by an oscillating electric field perpendicular to the magnetic field. The excitation also results in the ions moving in phase (in a packet). The signal is detected as an image current on a pair of plates which the packet of ions passes close to as they cyclotron. The resulting signal is called a free induction decay (fid), transient or interferogram that consists of a superposition of sine waves. The useful signal is extracted from this data by performing a Fourier transform to give a mass spectrum.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Penning_trap". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|