Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Heather Lewandowski

Second Advisor

Paul Beale

Third Advisor

Tiziana Vistarini


Molecular dynamics simulations of ion Coulomb crystals in linear Paul traps allow for the extraction of properties such as ion temperature and ion counts enabling the investigation of ion chemistry in the ultra-cold regime. These simulations reproduce experimental CCD images using density plots of simulated ions allowing for comparisons to be drawn between simulated and experimental results and providing information inaccessible to the researcher, such as the locations of clouds of non- uorescing species. In this thesis, a method for creating these simulated CCD images is presented, as well as the demonstration of a fourth order integrator for producing more accurate calculations of the ion energy. The simulation of a single frequency Paul trap is presented and the ability to match simulations with experimental parameters as inputs to experimental results is demonstrated in order to show that the simulations that have been constructed can be used to analyze experimental data and work as a predictive lab tool for future explorations of ultra-cold chemistry.