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Proceedings Paper

Matter-wave/atom interferometry
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Paper Abstract

Although interferometry's earliest and most familiar use is with photons, the discovery of matter-wave (deBroglie-wave) interference for electrons demanded the development of quantum mechanics. Since then, matter-wave interferometry has been performed with neutrons, Cooper electron-pairs, and most recently, with whole atoms and diatomic molecules. This talk describes our recent high-flux atom interferometry experiments using the generalized Talbot-vonLau effect. Our interferometer consists of a sequence of three planar vacuum-slit diffraction gratings, microfabricated from silicon nitride membranes. DeBroglie-wave interference fringes are sensed by measuring the transmission of potassium atoms on a hot- wire as a function of grating relative position. Different spatial Fourier components (up to sixth) in the diffraction pattern are resonant in the interferometer at different atomic velocities (i.e., at different wavelengths). When a laser cooled slow atomic beam is incident, various different diffraction patterns are observed as a function of atomic velocity. In an alternative `Heisenberg Microscope' configuration an incident thermal beam produces a velocity average over different fringe Fourier components. AC modulated weak laser light passing through the interferometer interacts selectively with atoms at a specific velocity. The associated fringe pattern is then ac modulated and revealed by its selective destruction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 December 1994
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2340, Interferometry '94: New Techniques and Analysis in Optical Measurements, (12 December 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.195895
Show Author Affiliations
John F. Clauser, Univ. of California/Berkeley (United States)
Shifang Li, Univ. of California/Berkeley (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2340:
Interferometry '94: New Techniques and Analysis in Optical Measurements

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