Special Issue "Low Energy Interactions between Ions and Ultracold Alkali Atoms"

A special issue of Atoms (ISSN 2218-2004).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Winthrop W. Smith
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics, University of Connecticut unit 3046, 196 Auditorium Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3046, USA
Interests: laser spectroscopy; collision studies; laser-excited atomic and molecular beams; nonlinear dynamics; chaos
Prof. Douglas S. Goodman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518-1908, USA
Interests: laser cooling and trapping; cold ion-neutral collisions; microparticle ion trapping; physics education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The study of low-energy ion-neutral collisions is fundamental to understanding the behavior, control, and applications of cold, atomic, molecular, and ionic gaseous systems. At long range, universal charge-induced polarization effects dominate the ion-neutral elastic, inelastic, reactive, and charge-transfer cross sections. Neutral alkali targets are of particular importance due to their ubiquitous use in cold atomic molecular and optical experiments, as well as their uniquely large polarizability. As their collision energy is lowered, ion-alkali reaction cross sections approach millions of atomic units, many orders of magnitude larger than typical neutral-atom van der Waals cross sections at the same energy scale. However, cold ion-alkali reactions had remained relatively unexplored until the early 2000s, at which time advances in laboratory and computational techniques such as cold hybrid ion-neutral traps and many-body excited-state quantum chemistry modeling were developed. Since then, the cold ion-neutral collision regime has rapidly blossomed. Researchers continue to explore and demonstrate quantum-limited control over a wide variety of ion-neutral partners, investigating ion-neutral sympathetic heating and cooling, formation and cooling of cold molecular ions, probing of quantum gases, and quantum chemistry, simulations, and computations. This Special Issue aims to highlight recent experimental and theoretical work in the field of low-energy ion-neutral studies, review progress, and discuss the outlook for future developments. Authors are invited to submit original research papers for the Special Issue as well as short, tutorial reviews emphasizing new developments not included in previous reviews.

Prof. Winthrop W. Smith
Prof. Douglas S. Goodman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atoms is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • cold ion-neutral collisions
  • ion-neutral collision dynamics
  • hybrid ion-neutral traps
  • charge transfer collisions
  • quantum simulations and computing
  • ion impurities in ultracold quantum gases
  • sympathetic cooling of ions
  • molecular association
  • quantum chemistry
  • Langevin orbiting collisions
  • long-range polarization interactions
  • ion-Rydberg atom interactions

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Loading a Paul Trap: Densities, Capacities, and Scaling in the Saturation Regime
Atoms 2021, 9(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/atoms9010011 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 491
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: [...] Read more.
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, Ns, of ions in the saturation regime, (ii) the maximum of Ns 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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Energy Interactions between Ions and Ultracold Alkali Atoms)
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