Antihydrogen formation by autoresonant excitation of antiproton plasmas


In efforts to trap antihydrogen, a key problem is the vast disparity between the neutral trap energy scale (∼ 50 μeV), and the energy scales associated with plasma confinement and space charge (∼ 1 eV). In order to merge charged particle species for direct recombination, the larger energy scale must be overcome in a manner that minimizes the initial antihydrogen kinetic energy. This issue motivated the development of a novel injection technique utilizing the inherent nonlinear nature of particle oscillations in our traps. We demonstrated controllable excitation of the center-of-mass longitudinal motion of a thermal antiproton plasma using a swept-frequency autoresonant drive. When the plasma is cold, dense and highly collective in nature, we observe that the entire system behaves as a single-particle nonlinear oscillator, as predicted by a recent theory. In contrast, only a fraction of the antiprotons in a warm or tenuous plasma can be similarly excited.
Antihydrogen was produced and trapped by using this technique to drive antiprotons into a positron plasma, thereby initiating atomic recombination. The nature of this injection overcomes some of the difficulties associated with matching the energies of the charged species used to produce antihydrogen.

Bertsche, W. A., Andresen, G. B., Ashkezari, M. D., Baquero-Ruiz, M., Bowe, P. D., Carpenter, P. T., Butler, E., Cesar, C. L., Chapman, S. F., Charlton, M., Eriksson, S., Fajans, J., Friesen, T., Fujiwara, M. C., Gill, D. R., Gutierrez, A., Hangst, J. S., Hardy, W. N., Hayano, R. S., Hayden, M. E., Humphries, A. J., Hurt, J. L., Hydomako, R., Jonsell, S., Kurchaninov, L., Madsen, N., Menary, S., Nolan, P., Olchanski, K., Olin, A., Povilus, A., Pusa, P., Robicheaux, F., Sarid, E., Silveira, D. M., So, C., Storey, J. W., Thompson, R. I., Werf, D. P. van der, Wurtele, J. S., Yamazaki, Y. Hyp. Int. 212, 61 (2012)