Simulations of the rf heating rates in a linear quadrupole ion trap
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Molecular dynamics simulations of the ion clouds stored in a linear quadrupole rf ion trap are performed at low temperatures (0.1 mK-15 K). The introduction of periodic boundary conditions allowed us to study the translationally uniform ion cloud geometry. The time evolution of the kinetic energy of the ion cloud is monitored during the simulation and the increase in the kinetic energy of the cloud (rf heating) is determined; its dependence on temperature, trapping voltage, and the number of ions is studied. The dependence of rf heating rate on temperature shows that rf heating is undetectable until the temperature reaches approximately 0.5 K; it then increases rapidly until it reaches a maximum at around 2 K. It starts to decrease slowly at higher temperatures. The rf heating rate is shown to increase very sharply with the amplitude of the trapping voltage. The dependence of the rf heating rate on the number of ions shows the influence of the ion crystal shell structure at low temperatures, and has a simple linear dependence at higher temperatures. 2005 The American Physical Society.