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Simulations of plasma confinement in an antihydrogen trap

Abstract

The three-dimensional particle-in-cell (3-D PIC) simulation code WARP is used to study positron confinement in antihydrogen traps. The magnetic geometry is close to that of a UC Berkeley experiment conducted, with electrons, as part of the ALPHA collaboration (W. Bertsche et al., AIP Conf. Proc. 796, 301 (2005)). In order to trap antihydrogen atoms, multipole magnetic fields are added to a conventional Malmberg-Penning trap. These multipole fields must be strong enough to confine the antihydrogen, leading to multipole field strengths at the trap wall comparable to those of the axial magnetic field. Numerical simulations reported here confirm recent experimental measurements of reduced particle confinement when a quadrupole field is added to a Malmberg-Penning trap. It is shown that, for parameters relevant to various antihydrogen experiments, the use of an octupole field significantly reduces the positron losses seen with a quadrupole field. A unique method for obtaining a 3-D equilibrium of the positrons in the trap with a collisionless PIC code was developed especially for the study of the antihydrogen trap; however, it is of practical use for other traps as well.

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