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Penning traps as a versatile tool for precise experiments in fundamental physics

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This review article describes the trapping of charged particles. The main principles of electromagnetic confinement of various species from elementary particles to heavy atoms are briefly described. The preparation and manipulation with trapped single particles, as well as methods of frequency measurements, providing unprecedented precision, are discussed. Unique applications of Penning traps in fundamental physics are presented. Ultra-precise trap-measurements of masses and magnetic moments of elementary particles (electrons, positrons, protons and antiprotons) confirm CPT-conservation, and allow accurate determination of the fine-structure constant α and other fundamental constants. This together with the information on the unitarity of the quark-mixing matrix, derived from the trap-measurements of atomic masses, serves for assessment of the Standard Model of the physics world. Direct mass measurements of nuclides targeted to some advanced problems of astrophysics and nuclear physics are also presented.
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Keywords: CKM-matrix; CPT; Penning traps; electron; magnetic moments; masses; neutrino; particles-antiparticles; physics constants; proton; standard model

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Max-Planck Institut fur Kernphysik, Heidelberg, Germany 2: Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, Gatchina, Russia 3: Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat, Mainz, Germany

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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