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Hendrik Ulbricht

School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton

Centre Of Mass Motion Interferometry Of Molecules And Nanoparticles

The motivation for de Broglie interference of heavy particles is manifold, for example, to address the foundations of physics by invesitgating the quantum to classical transition, the use of interferometric techniques for applications such as: molecule metrology, molecule sorting, molecule quantum interference lithography and investigations of van der Walls/Casimir-Polder interactions, and to study the coherent manipulation of complex partciles for instance to reconstruct the Wigner function of the motional quantum state of the diffracted molecules. The centre of mass interferometry is not affected by internal excitation of the molecules as impressively demonstrated by our experiments. If however internal state dynamics is coupled to the centre of mass motion by electric or optical fields, the interference pattern is changed. I will explain our experiment on mapping the dynamics of the change of conformation of hot molecules onto its centre of mass motion while measuring the interference pattern. I will further emphasise the status of the develpoment of the Southampton molecule interferometer, where we recently achieved 27% of quantum contrast.

In the last part of my talk I shall illustrate our ideas for de Broglie interference of polystyrene or glass spheres (beads) of up to 100nm in diameter. Our approach considers the use of optical tweezing and position stabilisation as a launch pad for Talbot-Lau interferometry. We have very recently started the first experiments.