The HILITE setup for high-intensity-laser experiments with highly charged ions : design and commissioning

Quantitative studies of the interaction of atomic and molecular ions with laser radiation at high laser intensities and / or high photon energies are a novel area in the field of laser-matter-interaction. They are facilitated by precise knowledge of the properties of the ions as a target for the laser. This refers to the location, composition, density and shape of the ion cloud as a target, as well as to the capability of characterising the ion target before and after the laser interaction. Ion traps are versatile instruments when it comes to localising ions with a defined particle composition, density and state within a specific and small volume in space. They allow in particular the combination of ions in well-defined quantum states with intense photon fields. The present thesis contains the detailed description of the setup and commissioning of the HILITE Penning trap, which is dedicated to providing a well-defined cloud of highly charged ions for a number of different experiments with intense lasers. In the present thesis, the experimental setup is described in detail and the components required for ion target preparation, characterisation and non-destructive ion detection inside the trap are characterised. Special attention is paid to the counting limits of the detection electronics, because knowledge of the exact number of stored ions is essential for the planned experiments. Highly charged ions are produced in an electron-beam ion trap (EBIT), decelerated, dynamically captured and stored. For the preparation of a well-defined ion cloud, the initially high energetic ions must be slowed and cooled to an energy of less than 1 meV. This thesis describes the applied methods of active-feedback cooling and resistive cooling and examines their potential cooling efficiencies.


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