Development of high efficiency Versatile Arc Discharge Ion Source at CERN ISOLDE

Rev Sci Instrum. 2010 Feb;81(2):02A906. doi: 10.1063/1.3271245.


We report here recent developments of Forced Electron Beam Induced Arc Discharge (FEBIAD) ion sources at the ISOLDE radioactive ion beam facility, hosted at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). As a result of the propositions to improve the ionization efficiency, two FEBIAD prototypes have been produced and successfully tested in 2008. Off-line studies showed that the 1+ ionization efficiencies for noble gases are 5-20 times larger than with the standard ISOLDE FEBIAD ion sources and reach 60% for radon, which allowed the identification at ISOLDE of (229)Rn, an isotope that had never previously been observed in the laboratory. A factor of 3 increase is also expected for the ionization efficiency of the other elements. The experimental and theoretical methodology is presented. The theoretical model, which gives precise insights on the processes affecting the ionization, is used to design optimal sources (grouped under the name of VADIS--Versatile Arc Discharge Ion Source) for the different chemical classes of the produced isotopes, as already demonstrated for the noble gases.