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Electrodynamic Ion Trapping

Electrodynamic ion traps, also known as Paul traps, are often used to hold individual atomic or molecular ions in free space, and these traps are commonly used as starting points for physics experiments investigating atomic or molecular properties. Wolfgang Paul and Hans Dehmelt received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1989 for developing ion traps, and this technology is still in widespread use today.


Trapping individual atoms is quite difficult, requiring lots of time and expensive equipment. In this workshop you will be trapping and observing larger particles, about twenty-five microns in diameter, which is significantly easier but involves many of the same underlying physical principles as trapping individual atoms. Also, they are easier to see. In this lab you will be working with different types of ion trapping geometries, examining their characteristics, and making some measurements of individual trapped particles.


Pricing and documentation including videos, a guide to experiments, a sample student handout, and detailed information about the physics of the trap are available at the Newtonian Labs website.