The aim of the Gbar experiment (Gravitational Behavior of Antihydrogen at Rest) at CERN is to produce a large number of antihydrogen atoms to measure their acceleration in Earth's gravitational field. The principle relies on the production of antihydrogen ions through two successive charge exchange reactions that occur when a beam of antiprotons passes through a positronium cloud. In 2022, Gbar demonstrated its operational scheme by producing antihydrogen atoms through the first charge exchange reaction. The current focus is on optimizing and improving various elements of the experiment to achieve the production of anti-H+, particularly the positron line leading to the creation of the positronium cloud. The challenge is to increase the number of positrons trapped in the second electromagnetic trap of the line, and then to transport them efficiently to the reaction chamber where they are converted into positronium.
The thesis work will involve operating, diagnosing, and optimizing the two electromagnetic traps of the line, as well as the positron acceleration and focusing devices to yield a sufficient number of positroniums and then the production of antihydrogen ions. The student will also participate in the measurement campaign for studying the mater counterpart of the second charge exchange reaction, relying upon a beam of H- ion instead of the beam of antiprotons.