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New Insights on Cold Ion-Neutral Processes

Dr. Jesus Perez Rios, a new faculty at the Department of Physics and Astronomy from Stony Brook University, in collaboration with the groups of Dr. R. Gerritsma and Dr. A. Safavi-Naini from the University of Amsterdam, find by the first time evidence of a reaction between a single ion and molecules at temperatures below 100 µk.

The observed chemical reaction showed that ion-molecule collisions lead inexorably to forming a molecular ion as a product state. Thus, paving the way to a new way of creating cold molecular ions. In addition, the high reactivity of the ion can be used as a sensor of impurities (molecules) in a gas (atomic), being able to detect 50 molecules out of 10000 atoms.

coldionneutralImage courtesy of H. Hirzler/University of Amsterdam

The authors describe their work in a paper that was published in Physical Review Letters this week:

Observation of Chemical Reactions between a Trapped Ion and Ultracold Feshbach Dimers , H. Hirzler, R.S. Lous, E. Trimby, J. Pérez-Ríos, A. Safavi-Naini and R. Gerritsma. Physical Review Letters 128, 103401 (2022).