The Truth Behind the Mysterious COLTRIMS
Unfortunately I can't speak in great detail about the experiment I was involved in with the COLTRIMS, hush hush you see, but what I can do is tell you a bit about the machine used in this secret experiment. Prepare yourself for the unbelievable...
This Beauty is the COLTRIMS unit
The purpose of the COLTRIMS is fairly well explained by just looking at the breakdown of the acronym. COLd Target refers to the atoms being observed in experiment. The COLTRIMS uses an ultrasonic stream of gas that is fired through a laser field which Ionizes the atoms of gas and those ions are then controlled by a uniform Magnetic and Electric fields which send the ion Recoiling into a Spectrometer, from which momentum vectors of the ions can be taken into account as well as time of flight data. This information is used to reverse engineer back to the point of interaction between the gas and the laser field. When that point is reached it is possible to determine how the atom was ionized.
All that was what the COLTRIMS was originally intended for, but that is not what we were using it for. In fact we were working on a way to further capitalize on the COLTRIMS ability to tell us even more about the nature of the ionization of the Atom in different atomic states. Remember, this is just the teaser, if you want the full story you'll have to wait for next spring's blockbuster paper: COLTRIMS 2: This Time it's not COLTRIMS one from the master storyteller Predrag Ranitovic.