A compact dication source for Ba2+ tagging and heavy metal ion sensor development

The Next Collaboration

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We present a tunable metal ion beam that delivers controllable ion currents in the picoamp range for testing of dry-phase ion sensors. Ion beams are formed by sequential atomic evaporation and single or multiple electron impact ionization, followed by acceleration into a sensing region. Controllability of the ionic charge state is achieved through tuning of electrode potentials that influence the retention time in the ionization region. Barium, lead, and cadmium samples have been used to test the system, with ion currents identified and quantified using a quadrupole mass analyzer. Realization of a clean Ba2+ ion beam within a bench-top system represents an important technical advance toward the development and characterization of barium tagging systems for neutrinoless double beta decay searches in xenon gas. This system also provides a testbed for investigation of novel ion sensing methodologies for environmental assay applications, with dication beams of Pb2+ and Cd2+ also demonstrated for this purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberP07044
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Beam Optics
  • Heavy-ion detectors
  • Ion identification systems
  • Ion sources (positive ions,negative ions,electron cyclotron resonance (ECR),electron beam (EBIS))

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Mathematical Physics


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