Van Dyck Group — Penning Trap Mass Spectrometry

Talks and Posters:

DAMOP 2004, Tuscon AZ, May 24-29

An improved, externally loaded PTMS for a new 3H to 3He mass difference [J1.87]

Abstract: For our research in precision Penning trap mass spectrometry (PTMS), we are making several changes to improve the accuracy and flexibility of our measurements. We have tested a special gas-fed Penning ion source, and are assembling an ion-beam tube for loading a variety of ions into a coaxial double Penning trap arrangement. The upper Penning trap will be used to store ions and prepare them for measurement in the lower, precision trap. This double-trap system will allow us to load single ions-of-interest in a reliable and flexible manner. At our present level of accuracy, (˜10 ppt), we are concerned with minimizing frequency shifts due to any (weakly coupled) unwanted ions, and also the disturbances caused by our current in-trap ionization procedure. The new apparatus should allow quick interrogation of different ions, reducing other sources of uncertainty. We will first measure the mass ratio of 3H+ and 3He+, giving the quantity m(3H) - m(3He), with less than 0.1 eV uncertainty. A more precise value of this mass difference should aide future direct neutrino mass measurements (KATRIN[1]) which analyze the energy spectrum from the beta-decay of tritium.

A more precise atomic mass of 4He: Ongoing reduction of uncertainties for the UW-PTMS [S4.3]

Slides of Talk

Abstract: Using a Penning trap mass spectrometer (PTMS), the atomic mass of 4He has been found to be 4 002 603 254.153(64) nu (an uncertainty of 16 ppt). This number agrees well with the previous two best measurements of the 4He mass[1,2] . In addition to giving a precise atomic mass of the α-particle, 4He can now be used as a convenient reference ion by less precise mass spectrometers. For this measurement, the cyclotron frequencies of 12C6+ and 4He2+ ions were compared, using a Penning ion trap with an extremely stable (less than 2 ppt/h of drift) magnetic field. While many aspects of our experiment have been previously described (as for the recent 16O result, at 10 ppt unceratinty[3]), we will present several techniques and changes to the apparatus that have improved the accuracy of our machine by about an order of magnitude in recent years.

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