Coherent scattering from a free gas
Author(s)Sanders, Scott N.; Mintert, Florian; Heller, Eric J.
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We investigate decoherence in atom interferometry due to scattering from a background gas and show that the supposition that residual coherence is due to near-forward scattering is incorrect. In fact, the coherent part is completely unscattered, although it is phase shifted. This recoil-free process leaves both the atom and the gas in an unchanged state, but allows for the acquisition of a phase shift. This is essential to understanding decoherence in a separated-arm atom interferometer, where a gas of atoms forms a refractive medium for a matter wave. Our work elucidates the actual microscopic, many-body, quantum-mechanical scattering mechanism that gives rise to prior phenomenological results for the phase shift and decoherence.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Physical Review A
American Physical Society
Sanders, Scott N., Florian Mintert, and Eric J. Heller. “Coherent scattering from a free gas.” Physical Review A 79.2 (2009): 023610. (C) 2010 The American Physical Society.
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