The atomic coilgun and single-photon cooling: A method for trapping and cooling of hydrogen isotopes

Adam Libson, Stephen Travis Bannerman, Robert J. Clark, Thomas R. Mazur, Mark G. Raizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the simplest atom, hydrogen has a unique role as a testing ground of fundamental physics. Precision measurements of the hydrogen atomic structure provide stringent tests of current theory, while tritium is an excellent candidate for studies of β-decay and possible measurement of the neutrino rest mass. Furthermore, precision measurement of antihydrogen would allow for tests of fundamental symmetries. Methods demonstrated in our lab provide an avenue by which hydrogen isotopes can be trapped and cooled to near the recoil limit. The atomic coilgun, which we have demonstrated with metastable neon and molecular oxygen, provides a general method of stopping a supersonic beam of any paramagnetic species. This tool provides a method by which hydrogen and its isotopes can be magnetically trapped at around 100 mK using a room temperature apparatus. Another tool developed in our laboratory, single-photon cooling, allows further cooling of a trapped sample to near the recoil limit. This cooling method has already been demonstrated on a trapped sample of rubidium. We report on the progress of implementing these methods to trap and cool hydrogen isotopes, and on the prospects for using cold trapped hydrogen for precision measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalHyperfine Interactions
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Antihydrogen
  • Coilgun
  • Cooling
  • Hydrogen
  • Trapping


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