Nonlinear dynamics in an alternating gradient guide for neutral particles
New Journal of Physics
Neutral particles can be guided and focussed using electric field gradients that focus in one transverse direction and defocus in the other, alternating between the two directions. Such a guide is suitable for transporting particles that are attracted to strong electric fields, which cannot be guided using static fields. Particles are only transmitted if their initial positions and transverse speeds lie within the guide's phase space acceptance. Nonlinear forces are always present in the guide
... esent in the guide and can severely reduce this acceptance. We consider the effects of the two most important nonlinear forces, a term in the force that is cubic in the off-axis displacement, and a nonlinear term which couples together the two transverse motions. We use approximate analytical techniques, along with numerical methods, to calculate the influence of these nonlinear forces on the particle trajectories and on the phase space acceptance. The cubic term alters the focussing and defocussing powers, leading either to an increase or a decrease of the acceptance depending on its sign. We find an approximate analytical result for the phase space acceptance including this cubic term. Using a perturbation method we show how the coupling term leads to slow changes in the amplitudes of the transverse oscillations. This term reduces the acceptance when it reduces the focussing power, but has little influence when it increases that power. It is not possible to eliminate both nonlinear terms, but one can be made small at the expense of the other. We show how to choose the guide parameters so that the acceptance is optimized.