TRIUMF/University of British Columbia
"Understanding the universe, one rare isotope at a time"
Abstract: Many questions in understanding the universe remain at the centre of forefront research: how and where the chemical elements in the universe are created, the life and death of stars, why are some atoms stable and some decay, and what is the nature of neutrinos? These questions are intimately related to our fundamental understanding of the atomic nucleus. Recent progress in theory as well as experimental techniques and access to rare isotopes are at the very center in getting closer to answering these questions.One of the premier facilities for rare isotopes is the ISAC complex at TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada. The isotopes are produced, often only in minuscule quantities, and with half-lives as short as few milliseconds, hence the name rare. To overcome the research obstacles of rare isotopes and extract information about the atoms and their fundamental interactions dedicated instruments are required. We have developed very sensitive and fast methods using ion trap techniques at TITAN (TRIUMF's Ion Trap of Atomic and Nuclear science). Ion traps are employed to measure atomic masses, using one single ion in as short as a 1/100 of a second with 10 parts per billion precision, breaking a world-record for precision mass spectroscopy. In this talk I will report on theses measurements and how they relate to answering the big questions, what we have learned, and where we stand.