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We report that methane, CH, can be used as an efficient -state quenching gas for trapped ytterbium ions. The quenching rate coefficient is measured to be (2.8 ± 0.3) × 106 s−1 Torr−1. For applications that use microwave hyperfine transitions of the ground-state 171Y b ions, the CH induced frequency shift coefficient and the decoherence rate coefficient are measured as / = (−3.6 ± 0.1) × 10−6 Torr−1 and 1/ = (1.5 ± 0.2) × 105 s−1 Torr−1. In our buffer-gas cooled 171Y b+ microwave clock system, we find that only ≤10−8 Torr of CH is required under normal operating conditions to efficiently clear the -state and maintain ≥85% of trapped ions in the ground state with insignificant pressure shift and collisional decoherence of the clock resonance.


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