Fast beams brought to rest

The Low Energy Beam and Ion Trap (LEBIT) group at the NSCL performed the first high-precision Penning trap mass measurement at a fragmentation facility with the nucleus Ca-38.

Ca-38 ions produced at the NSCL at about half the speed of light were brought to near rest using a high-pressure gas stopping cell. The Ca-38 ions were then transferred to a Penning trap located in a 9.4T superconducting magnet. The Penning trap allows the LEBIT group to measure the mass of single ions with extreme precision: the mass of a Ca-38 atom is now known with a precision of better than 30 parts per billion. This is a precision comparable to that of weighing a 30-ton truck and being able to tell if a one-dollar bill was left inside or not.

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Penning trap