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Quadrupole ion traps (QIT) have been developed since the 50's and applied to different disciplines. The idea is to use a radiofrequency potential applied to the ion trap electrodes to generate a dynamic electric field able to confine charged particles. The particle performs a micromotion inside the trap at a proper frequency, called secular frequency.


Once a dust particle is trapped it can be characterized by optical means. By illuminating the particle with a laser and performing the Fourier analysis of the scattered light we can obtain the secular frequency and measure the charge-to-mass ratio (Q/M). With an addition of an electron gun we can measure the absolute mass of the particle.


Knowing the mass of the particle, desorption processes of gas-phase species deposited on the solid particle can be studied. The difference in the measured mass with and without the gas-phase species will allow to determine its binding energy. Reactivity on the surface and sputtering processes can also be studied with the addition of proper instrumentation.

A Cryogenic Ion Trap for Astrochemistry

Study the processes occurring at the gas-solid interface and on the surface of grains.