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Trapped electrons and ions as particle detectors



Jacob Taylor, Daniel Carney, Hartmut Haffner, David Moore


Electrons and ions trapped with electromagnetic fields have long served as important high- precision metrological instruments, and more recently have also been proposed as a platform for quantum information processing. Here we point out that these systems can also be used as highly sensitive detectors of passing charged particles, due to the combination of their extreme charge-to- mass ratio and low-noise quantum readout and control. As an illustration, we show that current devices can be used to provide competitive sensitivity to models where ambient dark matter particles carry small electric millicharges ≪ e. Our calculations may also be useful in the characterization of noise in quantum computers coming from backgrounds of charged particles.
Physical Review Letters


ion trap, particle detector, penning trap, paul trap


Taylor, J. , Carney, D. , Haffner, H. and Moore, D. (2021), Trapped electrons and ions as particle detectors, Physical Review Letters, [online],, (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created August 5, 2021, Updated December 9, 2022