Review of scientific instruments vol:69 issue:2 pages:738-740
An online laser ion source has been used at the Leuven isotope separator online for the production of pure beams of exotic nuclei. The operational principle of the ion source is based on the element-selective multistep laser resonance ionization of nuclear reaction products thermalized and neutralized in a high-pressure noble gas. A number of improvements has been carried out to obtain stable and reproducible operation. The ion source has been optimized for the production of beams of exotic nuclei, created in proton-induced fission reactions. The efficiency of the ion source has been improved by incorporating the sextupole ion guide to separate laser-produced ions from the gas jet and to transport them to the acceleration stage of the mass separator. A gas purification system has been installed to purify the noble gas down to ppb level. High selectivity and efficiency of the ion source allowed to collect nuclear spectroscopic information for the neutron deficient Ni-54 and neutron-rich Ni68-74 isotopes. (C) 1998 American Institute of Physics.