Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Orbiting Cryogenic Molecules

01.06.2015

First experiment in the cryogenic storage ring CSR of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics

After years of development and construction work, physicists of the MPI for Nuclear Physics now for the first time succeeded to hold negatively charged molecules, namely hydroxide ions (OH–), at a few degrees above absolute zero orbiting inside their novel storage ring and perform experiments with them.


Insights into the Cryogenic Storage Ring during the construction pase.

Photos: MPIK


Some of the ions are neutralized by a laser beam, such that few OH radicals leave the ring and are detected. Without laser this rate is extremely low, indicating an extremely good vacuum.

Graphics: MPIK

The CSR (Cryogenic Storage Ring), a world-wide unique electrostatic storage ring for ions, is designed for operation at lowest temperatures. It enables researchers to investigate the chemistry of interstellar clouds on Earth and to gain fundamental insight into the ‘inner life’ of molecules.

It took almost three weeks until the new ultra-cold Cryogenic Storage Ring (CSR) had reached a temperature of –265C, just a few degrees above absolute zero. During the cool-down phase the pressure inside the ring dropped to an estimated value of 10^–13 mbar, which is sixteen orders of magnitude lower than atmospheric pressure and very difficult to measure precisely.

Shortly afterwards a first milestone was accomplished by storing positively charged argon ions (Ar+) in the ring. These initial tests gave the green light for the first experiment. “We produced hydroxyl ions (OH–) in our ion source, injected them into the CSR and stored them on a stable orbit for more than 10 minutes – this alone constitutes a great success for our team”, explains Andreas Wolf, one of the experimental physicists who have been driving the development of the CSR, “however, now we had to find out whether the stored ions are really cooling down to interstellar temperatures.”

To this end a tunable laser system is used. The stored OH– ions are exposed to the laser beam, which can detach the extra electron and produce neutral OH radicals. The neutral OH particles are no longer stored by the electromagnetic fields of the ring – owing to the lack of an electric charge – and thus are ejected from the stable orbit and recorded by a dedicated detector.

Depending on the frequency of the laser (corresponding to the color of the light) the neutralization process addresses different energy levels of the OH– ions, indicating how much internal energy the ion possessed before it interacted with the laser light.

A first evaluation of the experimental data revealed that not only the internal vibrations of the OH– ions had decayed, but that also the rotational excitation of the majority of the stored OH– ions had reached the lowest quantum state, indicating that the ions are indeed cooling down to interstellar temperatures.

“It really appears that our new ‘machine’ is living up to all of our expectations” Klaus Blaum, director and head of the “Stored and Cooled Ions” division at MPIK, is pleased to report. “The CSR will be able to realize its full potential in our forthcoming experiments on the chemistry of interstellar space” adds Holger Kreckel, group leader of the ERC-financed ASTROLAB project at MPIK.

The commissioning of the CSR constitutes the successful completion of a novel technological realization of an ultra-cold storage ring at MPIK. “With its purely electrostatic ion optics, its extremely low pressure and low temperature, the CSR allows for the storage of large molecular ions in their lowest quantum states”, summarizes Robert von Hahn, who led the technological development of the CSR.

The physicists at MPIK now have access to a unique instrument for fundamental experiments with molecular ions and clusters. The MPIK is grateful to the Max Planck Society for providing the financial support for the development and realization of the CSR project. Furthermore, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot (Israel) also contributed to the realization of the CSR and future experiments will be carried out in collaboration with (amongst others) the Universities of Heidelberg, Giessen, Greifswald, and Kaiserslautern; Columbia University (New York City, USA) and the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium).

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum
phone: +496221 516850
e-mail: klaus.blaum@mpi-hd.mpg.de

Dr. Robert von Hahn
phone: +496221 516396
e-mail: robert.von.hahn@mpi-hd.mpg.de

Prof. Dr. Andreas Wolf
phone: +496221 516503
e-mail: andreas.wolf@mpi-hd.mpg.de

Dr. Holger Kreckel
phone: +496221 516517
e-mail: holger.kreckel@mpi-hd.mpg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/mpi/fileadmin/files-mpi/Flyer/CSR-en_new.pdf - The Cryogenic Storage Ring CSR (pdf)
http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/mpi/de/abteilungen/abteilung-blaum/ - Division Stored and Cooled Ions at the MPIK
http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/mpi/astrolab/ - ASTROLAB group at the MPIK

Dr. Bernold Feuerstein | Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>