It consists of a specially designed Penning- or Penning Malmberg-type electromagnetic trap. A uniform axial magnetic field inhibits positron motion radially, and voltages imposed on end electrodes prevent axial loss. Such traps are renowned for their good confinement properties for particles such as positrons of a single sign of charge.
Springer Theses: Detection of Trapped Antihydrogen by Richard Allan Hydomako (2012, Hardcover)
Given a trap designed for good confinement, a remaining challenge is to efficiently fill the device. In the BGT, this is accomplished using a series of inelastic collisions with a molecular gas.
In a positron-molecule collision, annihilation is much less probable than energy loss due to electronic or vibrational excitation. The BGT has a stepped potential well Fig.
An improved limit on the charge of antihydrogen from stochastic acceleration | Nature
Electronic excitation of molecular nitrogen N 2 in the highest-pressure region is used to trap the positrons. This process is repeats until the particles are in a sufficiently low-pressure environment that the annihilation time is acceptably long. The particles cool to the ambient gas temperature due to inelastic vibrational and rotational collisions. Molecular nitrogen is used because it is unique in having an electronic energy level below the threshold for Ps formation; hence it is the trapping gas of choice.
While most positron sources produce positrons with energies ranging from a few kiloelectron volts to more than keV, the BGT is only useful for much lower energy particles e. If larger particle numbers are desired, the positrons are transferred to an ultra-high vacuum UHV Penning-Malmberg trap in a several-tesla magnetic field. Annihilation is negligible in UHV.
Positron cooling necessary to combat heating due to extrinsic effects is now due to the emission of cyclotron radiation in the large magnetic field.
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Physics with antihydrogen
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