Full quantum mechanical analysis of atomic three-grating Mach-Zehnder interferometry
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Atomic three-grating Mach Zehnder interferometry constitutes an important tool to probe fundamental aspects the quantum theory. There is, however, a remarkable gap in the literature betweenthe oversimplified models and robust numerical simulations considered to describe the corresponding experiments. Consequently, the former usually lead to paradoxical scenarios, such as the wave-particle dual behavior of atoms, while the latter make difficult the data analysis in simple terms. Here these issues are tackled by means of a simple grating working model consisting of evenly-spaced Gaussian slits. As is shown, this model suffices to explore and explain such experiments both analytically and numerically, giving a good account of the full atomic journey inside the interferometer, and hence contributing to make less mystic the physics involved. More specifically, it provides a clear and unambiguous picture of the wavefront splitting that takes place inside the interferometer, illustrating how ...the momentum along each emerging diffraction order is well defined even though the wave function itself still displays a rather complex shape. To this end, the local transverse momentum is also introduced in this context as a reliable analytical tool. The splitting, apart from being a key issue to understand atomic Mach-Zehnder interferometry, also demonstrates at a fundamental level how wave and particle aspects are always present in the experiment, without incurring in any contradiction or interpretive paradox. On the other hand, at a practical level, the generality and versatility of the model and methodology presented, makes them suitable to attack analogous problems in a simple manner after a convenient tuning.
Keywords:Atomic Mach-Zehnder interferometry / Gaussian grating / Quantum Talbot carpet / Local transverse momentum / Quantum simulation / Bohmian mechanics
Source:Annals of Physics, 2015, 353, 205-221
- Academic Press Inc.
- Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (Spain) FIS2011-29596-C02-01
- Ramon y Cajal Research Fellowship RYC-2010-05768
- Physics of Ordered Nanostructures and New Materials in Photonics (RS-171005)
- A new approach to foundational problems of quantum mechanics related to applications in quantum technologies and interpretations of signals of various origins (RS-171028)
- Fabrication and characterization of nano-photonic functional structrues in biomedicine and informatics (RS-45016)