A simple radionuclide-driven single-ion source

M. Montero Díez, K. Twelker, W. Fairbank, G. Gratta, P. S. Barbeau, K. Barry, R. Devoe, M. J. Dolinski, M. Green, F. Leport, A. R. Müller, R. Neilson, K. O'Sullivan, N. Ackerman, B. Aharmin, M. Auger, C. Benitez-Medina, M. Breidenbach, A. Burenkov, S. CookT. Daniels, K. Donato, J. Farine, G. Giroux, R. Gornea, K. Graham, C. Hagemann, C. Hall, K. Hall, D. Hallman, C. Hargrove, S. Herrin, A. Karelin, L. J. Kaufman, A. Kuchenkov, K. Kumar, J. Lacey, D. S. Leonard, D. MacKay, R. MacLellan, B. Mong, E. Niner, A. Odian, A. Piepke, A. Pocar, C. Y. Prescott, K. Pushkin, E. Rollin, P. C. Rowson, D. Sinclair, S. Slutsky, V. Stekhanov, J. L. Vuilleumier, U. Wichoski, J. Wodin, L. Yang, Y. R. Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We describe a source capable of producing single barium ions through nuclear recoils in radioactive decay. The source is fabricated by electroplating 148Gd onto a silicon α -particle detector and vapor depositing a layer of BaF2 over it. 144Sm recoils from the alpha decay of 148Gd are used to dislodge Ba+ ions from the BaF2 layer and emit them in the surrounding environment. The simultaneous detection of an α particle in the substrate detector allows for tagging of the nuclear decay and of the Ba+ emission. The source is simple, durable, and can be manipulated and used in different environments. We discuss the fabrication process, which can be easily adapted to emit most other chemical species, and the performance of the source.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113301
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank K. Moody (LLNL) and L. Moretto (UC Berkeley and LBNL) for their radiochemistry advice. The support from the staff of the Stanford Health Physics group and, in particular, of D. Menke, is also gratefully acknowledged. We are also indebted to H. Newman and R-Y. Zhu (Caltech) for providing a high quality crystal of barium fluoride. Finally, we would like to thank Canberra Semiconductor NV and, in particular, M. Morelle for advice and for providing us with unencapsulated samples of their detectors used for practicing the different processing steps. This work was supported in part by NSF grant PHY-0652416.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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