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Ion Trap

Design, build, and test

Building the ion-trap is the first step to succeed in this project. We have orgnized a step-by-step working plan, starting with simple parts to test the basic functionality of crucial instruments, and then increasing the complexity of the apparatus. We bought a couple of copper rods from which we will shape the electrodes to build the first split ring trap. The goal is always the same, to generate an oscillating electric field at the center of the trap to confine individual particles.

In the first version of our trap, we designed the electrodes based on Tim Esser's work in Leipzig, which will be machined from the copper rods, while the support will be in polylactic acid (PLA) produced with a 3D printer in collaboration with Prof. Canales (UdeC). This trap will be tested inside a small chamber, with transparent windows, easily fitted onto a optical table. We will use our RF power supply (Jordan) to drive the electric field, and try to trap a bunch of simple particles (Lycopodium spores). In this first version no diagnostic is included other than simple inspection via a laser or through a CCD camera. This simple setup will allow us to play with the voltage, understand the behaviour of the particles within the trap, check and adjust if needed the dimensions of the trap. We have performed a series of simulations with the SIMION software to maximize the trapping efficiency.

Once the basic tests will be finished, we plan to move the trap in a High-Vacuum chamber and to develop the optical system. At this stage vacuum won't be applied and the measurements will still be at ambient temperature. For the final setup we plan to use better materials in terms of thermal conductivity and expansion like copper/tungsten, molybdenum, and sapphire as isolation between the electrodes.