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.
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).
Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum
phone: +496221 516850
Dr. Robert von Hahn
phone: +496221 516396
Prof. Dr. Andreas Wolf
phone: +496221 516503
Dr. Holger Kreckel
phone: +496221 516517
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
When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties
20.11.2018 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS
How to melt gold at room temperature
20.11.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.11.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy