Experimental methods of molecular matter-wave optics

Author(s): T. Juffmann, H. Ulbricht, M. Arndt

Journal: Reports on Progress in Physics

Volume: 76

Page(s): 086402

Year: 2013

DOI Number: doi:10.1088/0034-4885/76/8/086402

Link: Link to publication

Abstract:

We describe the state of the art in preparing, manipulating and detecting coherent molecular matter. We focus on experimental methods for handling the quantum motion of compound systems from diatomic molecules to clusters or biomolecules.

 

Molecular quantum optics offers many challenges and innovative prospects: already the combination of two atoms into one molecule takes several well-established methods from atomic physics, such as for instance laser cooling, to their limits. The enormous internal complexity that arises when hundreds or thousands of atoms are bound in a single organic molecule, cluster or nanocrystal provides a richness that can only be tackled by combining methods from atomic physics, chemistry, cluster physics, nanotechnology and the life sciences.

 

We review various molecular beam sources and their suitability for matter-wave experiments. We discuss numerous molecular detection schemes and give an overview over diffraction and interference experiments that have already been performed with molecules or clusters.

 

Applications of de Broglie studies with composite systems range from fundamental tests of physics up to quantum-enhanced metrology in physical chemistry, biophysics and the surface sciences.

 

Nanoparticle quantum optics is a growing field, which will intrigue researchers still for many years to come. This review can, therefore, only be a snapshot of a very dynamical process.

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