Efficient bulk search for fractional charge with multiplexed Millikan chambers

C. D. Hendricks, K. S. Lackner, M. L. Perl, G. S. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We outline the design of a fully automated Millikan droplet apparatus that could detect a single free fractional charge in several hundred grams of matter even without the use of a prefilter. This would constitute an improvement over current limits by about three orders of magnitude. The experiment achieves high material throughput and high background rejection through on-line processing which allows for a feedback system that can concentrate the measurement effort on anomalous droplets. The task is simplified by generating a monodisperse stream of droplets which will be preprocessed to let only a very narrow range of charges enter the Millikan chamber. Because the droplets can act as carriers of finely dispersed materials it is also possible to search for fractional charge in matter that has not undergone extensive refinement that may have excluded fractionally charged atoms from the sample. In a large refinery style operation many such Millikan chambers could run concurrently to achieve extremely large material throughput.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number003
Pages (from-to)337-346
Number of pages10
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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