"Look! It Floats!": Electrodynamic Ion Trapping
presented by Aidan Farr, C'17
Wednesday, Mar. 1, 7:30 - 8:30pm, Woods Labs 216
Flying in the face of Earnshaw’s theorem, which stipulates that electric charges cannot be held in stationary equilibrium by electrostatic interactions, electrodynamic ion traps use oscillating electric fields to trap charged particles near the field minima. Wolfgang Paul and Hans Dehmelt were awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of electrodynamic ion trapping, which has since found applications in mass spectroscopy, quantum computing, and ion isolation. Electrodynamic ion traps can also be used to visualize electric fields and determine the charge-to-mass ratio of trapped ions. Analytical and computational analysis of ion traps allows us to probe questions about field geometries, trap effectiveness, and particle orbits. I will discuss electric-field models for some common ion-trapping configurations, and show an experimental implementation of a three-electrode electrodynamic trap for charged microparticles.
Aidan Farr, C’17, is a senior at the University of the South pursuing a B.S. degree in Physics, with minors in History and Music. His academic interests include the history of Anglican music, computational engineering, and nuclear physics. Aidan is a tenor in the University Choir, plays bassoon in the University Orchestra, and is a member of the Sewanee Folk Collective. In his four years at Sewanee, Aidan has served in 12 iterations of the Lessons and Carols and played in many concerts, including the first joint concert of the choir and orchestra. He has participated in the international University Physics Competition.