Accelerating Very Heavy Ions

HZDR Online News - August 29, 2013

The accelerators at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) provide ions – that are electrically charged particles – of most of the chemical elements available for experiments in materials research over a wide energy range. What is quite unique in the world is the fact that even very heavy metallic ions – beside monatomic also polyatomic ions with several hundred atomic mass units – are intended to be accelerated in the HZDR’s Ion Beam Center. When such heavy particles strike a material, quite new interactions could be found between the ion beam and the solid surface. This occurs because multiple atoms of the very heavy projectile impact the solid surface at the same time on the same place resulting in an extreme energy deposition.

For the research team headed by Dr. Lothar Bischoff, completely new scenarios can be investigated, for example, surface melting in the nanometer range which permits the formation of highly ordered self-organized surface structures. These effects are to be studied now in more detail in experiments at the Ion Beam Center’s facilities. Even single impacts of very heavy ions, for example into semiconducting materials, like silicon and germanium, will be examined closer by the researchers within the field of self-organization of surface patterns by ion beams.

Within the scope of a new collaborative project, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), between the Technische Universität Dresden [Dresden University of Technology] and the HZDR, liquid metal ion sources are supposed to be developed for the Ion Beam Center’s accelerators. What is the highlight here: They consist of porous rhenium emitters which are a spin-off derived from research on space propulsion systems delivering high ion currents. The basis for the emitters is an innovative micropowder injection molding process. The guidance of the very heavy polyatomic ions with up to 600 and more atomic mass units require also new ion beam optics to adapt the new ion sources to the respective accelerator. These developments are a part of the collaborative project as well which is supported for a period of three years and funded with 350,000 euros.

The HZDR and the TU Dresden are both members of the DRESDEN-concept network whose goal is to achieve greater visibility for Dresden as a center of excellence in research as well as supporting collaboration between the different participating institutions.

Further Information:

Dr. Lothar Bischoff
Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research at the HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 2963/2866

Contact Persoan at the Technischen Universität Dresden:
Prof. Dr. Martin Tajmar
Institute of Aerospace Engineering at the TU Dresden
Chair of Space Systems
Marschnerstrasse 32 / 01062 Dresden / Germany
Phone: +49 351 463-38091
Fax: +49 351 463-38126