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Method and apparatus for confinement of ions in the presence of a neutral gas

United States Patent

5,931,986
August 3, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Commercialization Program Website
The present invention is an apparatus and method for combining ions with a neutral gas and flowing the mixture with a radial flow component through a magnetic field so that the weakly ionized gas is confined by the neutral gas. When the weakly ionized gas is present in sufficient density, a weakly ionized non-neutral plasma is formed that may be trapped in accordance with the present invention. Applications for a weakly ionized non-neutral plasma exploit the trap's ability to store and manipulate ionic species in the presence of neutral gas. The trap may be connected to a mass spectrometer thereby permitting species identification after a fixed period of time. Delicate and/or heavy particles such as clusters may be held and studied in a "gentle" environment. In addition, the trap can provide a relatively intense, low-energy source of a particular ion species for surface implantation or molecular chemistry. Finally, a long trap may permit spectroscopy of unprecedented accuracy to be performed on ionic species.
Peurrung; Anthony J. (Richland, WA), Barlow; Stephan E. (Richland, WA)
Battelle Memorial Institute (Richland, WA)
08/ 696,221
August 13, 1996
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC06 76RLO 1830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.