Description: Students manipulate a quadrupole ion trap (Paul trap) and study the behaviour of lycopodium spores in an electric quadrupole field.
Before taking part in this experiment, students should already know about
- electric fields, especially about the visualisation of electric field lines e.g. between two electrically charged spheres
- how a transformer works, AC voltage
- how to measure voltages with a multimeter
- what antiparticles are and why CERN's antimatter factory is studying anti-hydrogen atoms (optional)
What students will learn:
- how electrically charged particle can be trapped using electric fields
- why particle traps are used in CERN's antimatter factory
Link to CERN physics: Antiparticles are produced in particle collisions in the LHC all the time. However, it is very difficult to study antimatter (stable particle systems made of antiparticles such as anti-hydrogen atoms). In CERN's antimatter factory, several experiments try to trap antimatter using particle traps, and study its properties to solve the matter-antimatter asymmetry problem. GBAR, for example, wants to study the effect of gravity on anti-hydrogen atoms.
Availability: Can be included in the S'Cool LAB Days at CERN itinerary.
Minimum age: 16
Recommended age: 17-19