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First Observation of Spin Flips with a Single Proton Stored in a Cryogenic Penning Trap


Ulmer,  Stefan
Division Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Ulmer, S. (2011). First Observation of Spin Flips with a Single Proton Stored in a Cryogenic Penning Trap. PhD Thesis, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-3E10-4
In this thesis the very first observation of spin transitions of a single proton stored in a cryogenic double-Penning trap is presented. The experimental observation of spin transitions is based on the continuous Stern-Gerlach effect, which couples the spin of the single trapped proton to its axial eigenfrequency, by means of an inhomogeneous magnetic field. A spin transition causes a change of the axial frequency, which can be measured non-destructively. Due to the tiny magnetic moment of the proton, the direct detection of proton spin-flips is an exceeding challenge. To achieve spin-flip resolution, the proton was stored in the largest magnetic field inhomogeneity, which has ever been superimposed to a Penning trap, and its axial frequency was detected non-destructively. Therefore, superconducting detection systems with ultrahigh-sensitivity were developed, allowing the direct observation of the single trapped proton, as well as the high-precision determination of its eigenfrequencies. Based on novel experimental methods, which were developed in the framework of this thesis, the axial frequency of the particle was stabilized to a level, where the observation of single-proton spin-flips is possible, which was demonstrated. This experimental success is one of the most important steps towards the high-precision determination of the magnetic moment of the free proton. With the very first observation of spin transitions with a single trapped proton, a highly exciting perspective opens. All experimental techniques which were developed in this thesis can be directly applied to the antiproton. Thus, the first high-precision measurement of the magnetic moment of the antiproton becomes possible. This will provide a new high-precision test of the matterantimatter symmetry.