Date of Completion


Embargo Period



hybrid trap, cold collisions, ion-neutral collisions, ion trapping, laser cooling

Major Advisor

Winthrop W. Smith

Associate Advisor

Susanne F. Yelin

Associate Advisor

George N. Gibson

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Dilute ion-neutral gas mixtures are an interesting system to study due to the rich variety and enormous strength of their scattering interactions, especially in the cold and ultracold regimes. Ion-neutral collisions are dominated by long-range polarization potentials that lead to cross sections several orders of magnitude larger than typical neutral-neutral van der Waals interactions. These large ion-neutral interactions can play an important role in atomic and molecular optical physics, astrophysics, and quantum chemistry. Thanks to advances in theoretical modeling of ion-neutral scattering and the development of new ion-neutral hybrid trapping and cooling technology, interest in this previously unexplored area of cold atomic and molecular physics has surged over the past decade.

The ion-neutral hybrid trap, composed of a magneto-optical trap concentric within a linear Paul trap, offers the ideal playground for studying and manipulating ion-neutral interactions over a wide energy range (~ 1 μK - 104 K). This dissertation discusses the development of UConn's hybrid trap, compares experimental measurements of the Na+ - Na system and Ca+ - Na system's low-energy collision rates with previously reported theory, and reports on experimental and simulation results of the sympathetic cooling of Na+ ions by laser cooled Na atoms.