Absorption imaging of ultracold neutral plasmas

Simien, CE, Chen YC, Gupta P, Laha S, Martinez YN, Mickelson PG, Nagel SB, Killian TC.  2005.  Absorption imaging of ultracold neutral plasmas, Apr. Ieee Transactions on Plasma Science. 33:540-541.


We report optical absorption imaging of ultracold neutral plasmas. Imaging allows direct observation of the ion density profile and expansion of the plasma. The frequency dependence of the plasma's optical depth gives the ion absorption spectrum, which is broadened by the ion motion. We use the spectral width to monitor ion equilibration in the first 250 ns after plasma formation. On a microsecond time scale, we observe the radial acceleration of ions resulting from pressure exerted by the trapped electron gas.


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