Click here to download thesis: Motional Sideband Spectra and Coulomb Crystals in a Penning Trap

Title: Motional sideband spectra and Coulomb crystals in a Penning trap


Laser cooled ions in a Penning trap can be isolated from the environment by placing them in vacuum and only interacting with them through optical and RF fields. The number of trapped particles can be varied from a single ion up to thousands. Confinement is provided by a static homogeneous magnetic field and a quadrupole electric potential. In the natural frame of the ions, this appears as a 3D simple harmonic potential. Therefore three dimensional structures can be formed in the absence of any additional RF field which may lead to heating as is the case with RF traps. There are 3N different motional modes for N particles. I present an analysis of the motion of a single particle showing that the energy levels for all three modes are equally spaced. I also describe the interaction between a trapped two level atom and an optical field.

During my time in the lab the laser and computer control of the experiment has been significantly improved. In addition, an existing trap was modified to provide greater optical access and fluorescence collection. This allowed the vibrational levels superimposed on the internal states of a single 40Ca+ ion to be resolved via a narrow linewidth, electric quadrupole transition. This is the first observation of magnetron and modified cyclotron sidebands on an optical transition.

When more than one calcium ion is laser cooled, and their temperature reduced below 5mK, they form a Coulomb crystal. The locations of the ions minimise the total potential energy which is comprised of the Coulomb repulsion and trap potential. The fluorescence
collection optics have been arranged to resolve individual ions in these crystals. Information about the motion of the ions is deduced by comparing photos from the experiment to numerical simulations. Previously, only two ions have ever been aligned along the mag-
netic field in a Penning trap. I present strings of up to 29 particles and suggest the only limitation, apart from the electrode structure, is the overlap of the laser beams with the ions.


Issue Date: 9 April 2013

Supervisor: Thompson, Richard

                    Segal, Danny

Item Type:  Physics PhD Thesis