Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair/Advisor

Joan Marler

Committee Member

Endre Takacs

Committee Member

Bradley Meyer

Committee Member

Marco Ajello


Highly Charged Ions (HCIs) may be considered ideal mini-laboratory in which one can study the physics of matter and light in an environment of high internal electric field that can not be recreated with standard lab equipment. The remaining electron(s) exist in the extremely large electric field of the nucleus and therefore measurements of electronic transitions in these systems provide stringent tests of our understanding of physics in extreme conditions. Quantum electrodynamics (QED) despite being a powerful theory exhibits large discrepancies for systems under extreme conditions. The work here investigates the atomic properties within non-Maxwellian plasmas. The HCI plasmas studied here were created within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Electron Beam Ion Trap (EBIT). The EBIT is an apparatus which uses a high energy, high density electron beam to both create HCIs and to probe them. The result is a plasma composed primarily of a balance of different charge states of an injected target atom and mono-energetic electron beam. HCI plasmas are relevant to diverse areas of physics today, including astrophysical plasmas and fusion plasmas. One additional unique feature of these plasmas is the prevalence for the ions to exist as Rydberg ions. Rydberg ions are ions in which one or more of the electrons reside in highly excited orbitals. The combination of high $n$,$\ell$ states and strong electric fields make these ions ideal systems for studying a diverse set of problems. In this work we detail the methods and results obtained from the new Transition Edge Sensor (TES) microcalorimeter installed on the NIST EBIT. We use a electron beam energy sweeping technique to probe dielectronic recombination (DR) resonances in highly charged Ar and determine the DR strengths of He-like Ar. We study the effects of hyperfine quenching in Ni-like Nd and Pr and identify transitions in these ions as well as the surrounding charge states. The results show the capabilities and potential of the time resolved spectrometer on the study of highly charged ions.

Author ORCID Identifier




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