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Y. Margalit, O. Dobkowski, Z. Zhou, O. Amit, Y. Japha, S. Moukouri, D. Rohrlich, A. Mazumdar, S. Bose, C. Henkel, and R. Folman
Realization of a complete Stern-Gerlach interferometer: Towards a test of quantum gravity
submitted to  Science Adv. (2020)


    The Stern-Gerlach effect, discovered a century ago, has become a paradigm of quantum mechanics. Surprisingly there has been little evidence that the original scheme with freely propagating atoms exposed to gradients from macroscopic magnets is a fully coherent quantum process. Specifically, no full-loop Stern-Gerlach interferometer has been realized with the scheme as envisioned decades ago. Furthermore, several theoretical studies have explained why such an interferometer is a formidable challenge. Here we provide a detailed account of the first full-loop Stern-Gerlach interferometer realization, based on highly accurate magnetic fields, originating from an atom chip, that ensure coherent operation within strict constraints described by previous theoretical analyses. Achieving this high level of control over magnetic gradients is expected to facilitate technological as well as fundamental applications, such as probing the interface of quantum mechanics and gravity. While the experimental realization described here is for a single atom, future challenges would benefit from utilizing macroscopic objects doped with a single spin. Specifically, we show that such an experiment is in principle feasible, opening the door to a new era of fundamental probes.

[ 2011.10928 ]

file generated: 17 Dec 2020

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