Effective beam separation schemes for the measurement of the electric Aharonov-Bohm effect in an ion interferometer

Author(s): G. Schütz, A. Rembold, A. Pooch, H. Prochel, A. Stibor

Journal: arXiv: physics.optics

Year: 2015

DOI Number: --

Link: Link to publication


We propose an experiment for the first proof of the type I electric Aharonov-Bohm effect in an ion interferometer for hydrogen. The performances of three different beam separation schemes are simulated and compared. The coherent ion beam is generated by a single atom tip (SAT) source and separated by either two biprisms with a quadrupole lens, two biprisms with an einzel-lens or three biprisms. The beam path separation is necessary to introduce two metal tubes that can be pulsed with different electric potentials. The high time resolution of a delay line detector allows to work with a continuous ion beam and circumvents the pulsed beam operation as originally suggested by Aharonov and Bohm. We demonstrate, that the higher mass and therefore lower velocity of ions compared to electrons combined with the high expected SAT ion emission puts the direct proof of this quantum effect for the first time into reach of current technical possibilities. Thereby a high coherent ion detection rate is crucial to avoid long integration times that allow the influence of dephasing noise from the environment. We can determine the period of the expected matter wave interference pattern and the signal on the detector by determining the superposition angle of the coherent partial beams. Our simulations were tested with an electron interferometer setup and agree with the experimental results. We determine the separation scheme with three biprisms to be most efficient and predict a total signal acquisition time of only 80 s to measure a phase shift from 0 to 2$\pi$ due to the electric Aharonov-Bohm effect.

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