Quantum interference of large organic molecules

Author(s): S. Gerlich, S. Eibenberger, M. Tomandl, S. Nimmrichter, K. Hornberger, P. J. Fagan, J. Tüxen, M. Mayor, M. Arndt

Journal: Nature communications

Volume: 2

Page(s): 263

Year: 2011

DOI Number: 10.1038/ncomms1263

Link: Link to publication

Abstract:

The wave nature of matter is a key ingredient of quantum physics and yet it defies our classical intuition. First proposed by Louis de Broglie a century ago, it has since been confirmed with a variety of particles from electrons up to molecules. Here we demonstrate new high-contrast quantum experiments with large and massive tailor-made organic molecules in a near-field interferometer. Our experiments prove the quantum wave nature and delocalization of compounds composed of up to 430 atoms, with a maximal size of up to 60 Å, masses up to m=6,910 AMU and de Broglie wavelengths down to λdB=h/mv≃1 pm. We show that even complex systems, with more than 1,000 internal degrees of freedom, can be prepared in quantum states that are sufficiently well isolated from their environment to avoid decoherence and to show almost perfect coherence.

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