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Journal Article

Diffractive mirrors for neutral-atom matter-wave optics


Schöllkopf,  Wieland       
Molecular Physics, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Kim, L. Y., Kang, D. W., Park, S., Lim, S., Kim, J., Schöllkopf, W., et al. (2024). Diffractive mirrors for neutral-atom matter-wave optics. Faraday Discussions. doi:10.1039/d3fd00155e.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-4FDA-4
Mirrors for atoms and molecules are essential tools for matter-wave optics with neutral particles. Their realization has required either a clean and atomically smooth crystal surface, sophisticated tailored electromagnetic fields, nanofabrication, or particle cooling because of the inherently short de Broglie wavelengths and strong interactions of atoms with surfaces. Here, we demonstrate reflection of He atoms from inexpensive, readily available, and robust gratings designed for light waves. Using different types of blazed gratings with different periods, we study how microscopic and macroscopic grating properties affect the mirror performance. A holographic grating with 417 nm period shows reflectivity up to 47% for He atoms, demonstrating that commercial gratings can serve as mirrors for thermal energy atoms and molecules. We also observe reflection of He2 and He3 which implies that the grating might also function as a mirror for other breakable particles that, under typical conditions, do not scatter nondestructively from a solid surface such as, e.g., metastable atoms or antihydrogen atoms.