Goodsell, Anne Laurel, Trygve Ristroph, Jene A. Golovchenko, and Lene Vestergaard Hau. 2010. Field ionization of cold atoms near the wall of a single carbon nanotube. Physical Review Letters: 104(13): 133002.
We observe the capture and field ionization of individual atoms near the side wall of a single suspended nanotube. Extremely large cross sections for ionization from an atomic beam are observed at modest voltages due to the nanotube’s small radius and extended length. The effects of the field strength on both the atomic capture and the ionization process are clearly distinguished in the data, as are prompt and delayed ionizations related to the locations at which they occur. Efficient and sensitive neutral atom detectors can be based on the nanotube capture and wall ionization processes.