Using absorption imaging to study ion dynamics in an ultracold neutral plasma

Simien, CE, Chen YC, Gupta P, Laha S, Martinez YN, Mickelson PG, Nagel SB, Killian TC.  2004.  Using absorption imaging to study ion dynamics in an ultracold neutral plasma, Apr. Physical Review Letters. 92:4., Number 14


We report optical absorption imaging of ultracold neutral strontium plasmas. The ion absorption spectrum determined from the images is Doppler broadened and thus provides a quantitative measure of the ion kinetic energy. For the particular plasma conditions studied, ions heat rapidly as they equilibrate during the first 250 ns after plasma formation. Equilibration leaves ions on the border between the weakly coupled gaseous and strongly coupled liquid states. On a longer time scale of microseconds, pressure exerted by the trapped electron gas accelerates the ions radially.


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