Providing ideal conditions for the study of ion-neutral collisions, we investigate here the properties of the saturated, steady state of a three-dimensional Paul trap, loaded from a magneto-optic trap. In particular, we study three assumptions that are sometimes made under saturated, steady-state conditions: (i) The pseudopotential provides a good approximation for the number,
, of ions in the saturation regime, (ii) the maximum of
occurs at a loading rate of approximately 1 ion per rf cycle, and (iii) the ion density is approximately constant. We find that none of these assumptions are generally valid. However, based on detailed classical molecular dynamics simulations, and as a function of loading rate and trap control parameter, we show where to find convenient dynamical regimes for ion-neutral collision experiments, or how to rescale to the pseudo-potential predictions. We also investigate the fate of the electrons generated during the loading process and present a new heating mechanism, insertion heating, that in some regimes of trapping and loading may rival and even exceed the rf-heating power of the trap.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited