TA2 Facility 12 – Atomki ECRIS Laboratory: Belfast Ice Chamber for Astrophysics-Astrochemistry (BICA)
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TA2 Facility 12 – Atomki ECRIS Laboratory: Belfast Ice Chamber for Astrophysics-Astrochemistry (BICA)

Average visit: 5 days

In collaboration with Queen’s University of Belfast, University of Kent and the Queen Mary University of London, a facility for ion irradiation studies of astrophysical ice analogues is currently being established at the ECR Ion Source (ECRIS) Laboratory at Atomki, Debrecen. This facility will consist of a UHV-compatible chamber containing a substrate on which astrophysical ice analogues may be grown at cryogenic temperatures. Such ices may then be processed via ion irradiation and any resultant chemical or physical changes in the ice due to radiation physics or chemistry will be monitored using mid-infrared spectroscopy. Several ion projectiles with various charge states are available at the ECRIS Laboratory, allowing for a wide variety of ion irradiation or implantation experiments to be performed. The available ion beams and intensities can be found in a recent open access paper (see figs 4 and 5).

As may be seen, all known components of the solar wind can be produced: H, He, C, O, Si, Fe, Ni. ECRIS can produce reasonably high charge state of ions; for example, fully stripped Ne ions are available. Additionally, this ECRIS is able to produce certain negative ions or molecular ions of H, C, O, OH, O2, and also single charged, positive molecular ions of H2, H3, OH, H2O, H3O, O2. The energy range available is on the order of a few hundred eV to a few tens keV, thus making this set-up ideal for studying solar wind radiation physics and chemistry. Moreover, such an energy range extends and complements that available at the Ice Chamber for Astrophysics-Astrochemistry (TA2 Facility 11), increasing the range of astrochemical experiments which may be performed at Atomki. Construction of this facility is ongoing, and we expect it to be fully operational by Autumn 2022. 


Dr Zoltán Juhász, Institute for Nuclear Research (Atomki), Bem tér 18/c, H-4026 Debrecen, Hungary. zjuhasz@atomki.hu

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