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Closing the Gap; from Fundamental Nuclear Physics to Applications with Next-Generation Ion Traps

April 23, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am



Ion traps have long been recognized as superb precision tools for fundamental physics research (Nobel Prize, 1989). In contemporary nuclear physics, they are widely employed to prepare, control and study short-lived radionuclides with high precision and accuracy. Recently, electrostatic ion beam traps have gained in importance by their use as Multi-Reflection Time-of-Fight (MR-ToF) mass separators. In these instruments, ions bounce back and forth between two electrostatic mirrors. Thus, a flight path of a few kilometers is folded into a table-top device and mass resolving powers of R=m/m>105 are achieved in a few milliseconds. 

After an overview of ion traps in nuclear physics, this seminar will introduce the Multi Ion Reflection Apparatus for Collinear Laser Spectroscopy (MIRACLS) which connects the successful tradition of collinear laser spectroscopy (CLS) with MR-ToF technology. This novel approach significantly enhances the experimental sensitivity to study exotic radionuclides with very low production yields. Beyond fundamental nuclear physics, MIRACLS' techniques promise intriguing applications. For instance, its unprecedented 30-keV MR-ToF device opens a path for highly selective mass separation of large samples by increasing the ion capacity of MR-ToF devices by several orders of magnitudes. Such a next-generation mass separator is of high demand for life and material science, trace analysis, or medical isotope production. Facilitated by diagnostic tools unique to MIRACLS, the better understood MR-ToF ion dynamics enables the design of compact, portable MR-ToF devices for nuclear monitoring, environmental studies, or oil and gas applications.


Stephan Malbrunot-Ettenauer is a research physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Stephan honed his skills on γ-ray spectroscopy and detectors with work in Stockholm, Berkeley, Michigan State, and TRIUMF and moved on to perform precision studies in ion traps at ISAC/ TRIUMF and ISOLDE/CERN. By advancing related trapping techniques, he also took a leading role within a team at Harvard to establish stringent comparisons in properties of matter and anti-matter. As the leader and spokesperson of the Multi Ion Reflection Apparatus for Collinear Laser Spectroscopy, MIRACLS, (funded by the European Research Council ERC-grant) he is developing a next-generation mass spectrometer. This apparatus will also be used for medical research and shows excellent promise for industrial application. At his research institute, he has taken on a central role, connecting the ISOLDE facility to the wider CERN community, to its external experimenters as well as to the general public. Stephan received a series of awards including an Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship and the PhD thesis award by the Canadian Association of Physicists. Most importantly, he is exploring ‘fundamental interactions’ to his two, very young kids; never predictable, never reproducible, and consequently great fun. Stephan received a M.Sc. degree in technical physics at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, and a Ph.D. in physics at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

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April 23, 2020
8:00 am - 9:00 am
Event Category:

NE Front Office
4153 Etcheverry Hall, MC 1730
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720

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