Pulsed magnetic slowing of supersonic beams
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Supersonic beams provide a source of cold atoms where laser cooling is not applicable. Although the atoms' temperature in the co-moving frame is in the subkelvin range their velocity is on the order of several hundreds of meters per second. This thesis describes the experimental realization of a novel method to slow atoms and molecules with permanent magnetic moments using pulsed magnetic fields. The method is suitable for most elements since most atomic species are paramagnetic, and can also be applied to certain molecules, as well as electronically excited metastable states and most radicals. We show the slowing of metastable neon in a proof of principle experiment where the mean velocity is reduced from 461.0[plus or minus] 7.7 m/s to 403 [plus or minus]16 m/s in 18 stages. A second setup with 64 stages is now operating and allows us to stop metastable neon in principle. Preliminary results showing slowing from 447[plus or minus]3m/s to 136[plus or minus]5m/s with an efficiency of up to 3.9% are included here, and the slower has been shown to generate atoms as slow as 50 m/s. We find that the slowing efficiency depends strongly on the switching phase. In addition to the experimental results described above, we present simulations of a moving trap which allows trapping and decelerating at the same time.