Experiments at ALPHA
Different Experiments at ALPHA
It is important, that we continuously work on improving our hardware and software, so that we can do the precise measurements that we want and leave space for improvement for the future. These are the different generations of experimental Hardware till now and some of our projects that are near in the future.
ALPHA 1 (2005– 2012)
Physics: First trapped antihydrogen. First quantum transitions (hyperfine).
Hardware: Octupole based minimum-B field Ioffe-Prittchard trap for neutral atoms superposed on Penning-Malmberg trap for antihydrogen synthesis.
ALPHA 2 (2012 - present)
Physics: First laser spectroscopy. First laser-cooling.
Hardware: Catching trap introduced to split functionality away from antihydrogen region to improve mechanical access (for e.g. lasers).
ALPHA Beamline (2018 - present)
A separate system that connects ALPHA 2/3, ALPHA-g and the Positron Accumulator to allow the accumulator to feed positrons to both ALPHA 2/3 and ALPHA-g as well as allow for antiprotons to be transported to ALPHA-g.
ALPHA 3 (2021 - present)
Aim: Hydrogen precision in antihydrogen spectroscopy. First observation of photons from antihydrogen. Improved antihydrogen trapping & stacking. Observation of additional optical transitions (e.g. 4s->2s) in antihydrogen
Hardware: Upgrade with fluorescence detection for 121nm light as well as visible wavelengths. Will also include detection of 313nm light for laser-cooling and magnetometry with Be+.
ALPHA-g (2021 - present)
Aim: 10% precision on measurement of the inertial to gravitational mass of antihydrogen.
Hardware: New vertical system of about double the size of ALPHA 2/3. Double Penning-Malmber trap and neutral atom traps. Highly improved precision in construction of magnets to improve (a) homogeneity of fields and (b) knowledge of fields. Super-conductor mass reduced to limit persistent current issues.
Our latest breakthrough, the first observation of the 1S-2S transition in trapped antihydrogen has been published in Nature and is the first time a spectral line has been observed in antihydrogen.
ELENA, a new ring that will slow the Antiproton Decelerator's antiprotons down even further has now finished construction and is entering the commissioning phase. Read about it here and check out the timelapse video of the construction below. For more information, read the CERN Courier article or visit the ELENA project website.