Production of high density molecular beams with wide velocity scanning. Academic Article uri icon


  • We describe modifications of a pulsed rotating supersonic beam source that improve performance, particularly increasing the beam density and sharpening the pulse profiles. As well as providing the familiar virtues of a supersonic molecular beam (high intensity, narrowed velocity distribution, and drastic cooling of rotation and vibration), the rotating source enables scanning the translational velocity over a wide range. Thereby, beams of any atom or molecule available as a gas can be slowed or speeded. Using Xe beams in the slowing mode, we have obtained lab speeds down to about 40 5 m/s with density near 10(11) cm(-3) and in the speeding mode lab speeds up to about 660 m/s and density near 10(14) cm(-3). We discuss some congenial applications. Providing low lab speeds can markedly enhance experiments using electric or magnetic fields to deflect, steer, or further slow polar or paramagnetic molecules. The capability to scan molecular speeds facilitates merging velocities with a codirectional partner beam, enabling study of collisions at very low relative kinetic energies, without requiring either beam to be slow.

published proceedings

  • Rev Sci Instrum

author list (cited authors)

  • Sheffield, L. S., Woo, S. O., Rathnayaka, K., Lyuksyutov, I. F., & Herschbach, D. R.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Sheffield, LS||Woo, SO||Rathnayaka, KDD||Lyuksyutov, IF||Herschbach, DR

publication date

  • June 2016