Mike Zhong L&S Sciences
Understanding the Dynamics of the ALPHA Antihydrogen Trap
Due to its scarcity on Earth (and as far as we know, the observable Universe), very little is known about antimatter, partner particles of equal mass but opposite charge as normal matter. The ALPHA collaboration at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland is one of the worlds most advanced antimatter experimental sites. A cylindrical magnetic trap is used to trap antihydrogen atoms, in that the magnetic field generated by the coils surrounding the cylinder interacts with the atoms to confine them within the walls of the trap. Various experiments are conducted using the trap to probe the properties of antihydrogen atoms.
The dynamics of an individual antihydrogen atom inside the magnetic trap are not yet fully known; a more comprehensive understanding will allow more precise experiments to be designed. I will use computer simulations to study the interactions between the trap and individual antihydrogen atoms under various trap parameters, in particular how the axial and radial components of motion are coupled. I will be at CERN in Geneva to test the accuracy of these simulations, by conducting an adiabatic cooling experiment where one of the traps parameters is decreased very slowly.