cold highly charged ions
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The investigation of highly charged ion Coulomb crystallization in mixed strongly coupled plasmas is of interest in many areas: white dwarf astrophysical plasmas are believed to have very similar thermodynamic properties, cold highly charged ions can be used as an object for high precision laser spectroscopy of fine and hyperfine transitions in the visible due to the absence of Doppler broadening and, an entirely new area of research is the potential application to highly charged ion based quantum computing schemes. We report the formation of such plasmas in a cryogenic Penning trap. These plasmas consisting of many species including Be+ and Xe44+ or Be+ and Xe15+ ions, are formed at a temperature of less than 4 K. The temperatures were obtained by applying a laser based sympathetic cooling scheme. The determination of the temperature and density from the laser resonance width and the fluorescence imaging of the Be+ clouds, respectively, yields a Coulomb coupling constant for the centrifugally separated Xe plasma high enough for crystallization. A molecular dynamics code, developed just for this purpose, was run to clarify the understanding of these plasmas and it was possible to show consistency between experiment and simulation.
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