NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
ion storage tests with the high performance antimatter trap (hipat)The NASA/Marshall Space Flight Centers (NASA/MSFC) Propulsion Research Center (PRC) is evaluating an antiproton storage system, referred to as the High Performance Antiproton Trap (HiPAT). This interest stems from the sheer energy represented by matter/antimatter annihilation process with has an energy density approximately 10 order of magnitude above that of chemical propellants. In other terms, one gram of antiprotons contains the equivalent energy of approximately 23 space shuttle external tanks or ET's (each ET contains roughly 740,000 kgs of fuel and oxidizer). This incredible source of stored energy, if harnessed, would be an enabling technology for deep space mission where both spacecraft weight and propulsion performance are key to satisfying aggressive mission requirements. The HiPAT hardware consists of a 4 Tesla superconductor system, an ultra high vacuum test section (vacuum approaching 10(exp -12) torr), and a high voltage confinement electrode system (up to 20 kvolts operation). The current laboratory layout is illustrated. The HiPAT designed objectives included storage of up to 1 trillion antiprotons with corresponding lifetimes approaching 18 days. To date, testing has centered on the storage of positive hydrogen ions produced in situ by a stream of high-energy electrons that passes through the trapping region. However, due to space charge issues and electron beam compression as it passes through the HiPAT central field, current ion production is limited to less then 50,000 ions. Ion lifetime was determined by counting particle populations at the end of various storage time intervals. Particle detection was accomplished by destructively expelling the ions against a micro-channel plate located just outside the traps magnetic field. The effect of radio frequency (RF) stabilization on the lifetime of trapped particles was also examined. This technique, referred to as a rotating wall, made use of a segmented electrode located near the center of the trap on which various phases of a particular frequency were applied. Various experiments were performed illustrating the ability of an RF drive to both prolong and reduced the lifetimes of various ion species depending on the selected frequency. HiPAT is now being reconfigured for testing with an ion source that will provide both positive and negative hydrogen ions from an external source. This ion system shall provide higher fill capacity (order of million of ions per shot), stacking of multiple shots, and injection schemes typical of a realistic antiproton delivery system.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Martin, James J.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Lewis, Raymond A.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Chakrabarti, Suman
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Pearson, Boise
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Schafer, Charles
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Nuclear Physics
Meeting Information
Space Technologies Applications International Forum Conference(Albuquerque, NM)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.