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Title: Single-electron detection and spectroscopy via relativistic cyclotron radiation

Since 1897, we've understood that accelerating charges must emit electromagnetic radiation. Cyclotron radiation, the particular form of radiation emitted by an electron orbiting in a magnetic field, was first derived in 1904. Despite the simplicity of this concept, and the enormous utility of electron spectroscopy in nuclear and particle physics, single-electron cyclotron radiation has never been observed directly. We demonstrate single-electron detection in a novel radiofrequency spec- trometer. Here, we observe the cyclotron radiation emitted by individual magnetically-trapped electrons that are produced with mildly-relativistic energies by a gaseous radioactive source. The relativistic shift in the cyclotron frequency permits a precise electron energy measurement. Precise beta electron spectroscopy from gaseous radiation sources is a key technique in modern efforts to measure the neutrino mass via the tritium decay endpoint, and this work demonstrates a fundamentally new approach to precision beta spectroscopy for future neutrino mass experiments.
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
  4. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
  5. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  6. Karlsruhe Inst. of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0004036; FG02-97ER41020; SC0011091; AC05-76RL01830
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 114; Journal Issue: 16; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP) (SC-26)
Contributing Orgs:
Project 8 Collaboration
Country of Publication:
United States