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Physical Review Letters · 1991

An Interferometer For Atoms

David W. Keith, Christopher R. Ekstrom, Quentin A. Turchette, and David E. Pritchard

We have demonstrated an interferometer for atoms. A three-grating geometry is used, in which the interfering beams are distinctly separated in both position and momentum. We used a highly collimated beam of sodium atoms with a de Broglie wavelength of 16 pm and high-quality 0.4-μm-period freestanding gratings which we fabricated using a novel method. The interference signal is 70 counts/s, which allows us to determine the phase to 0.1 rad in 1 min. Applications of atom interferometers are briefly discussed.

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