Neutron Interferometry: Lessons in Experimental Quantum Mechanics

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The quantum interference of DeBroglie matter waves is probably one of the most startling and fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics. It continues to tax our imaginations and leads us to new experimental windows on nature. Quantum interference phenomena are vividly displayed in the wide assembly of neutron interferometry experiments, which have been carried out since the first demonstration of a perfect silicon crystal interferometer in 1974. Since the neutron experiences all four fundamental forces of nature (strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational), interferometry with neutrons provides a fertile testing ground for theory and precision measurements. Many Gedanken experiments of quantum mechanics have become real due to neutron interferometry. This book provides the reader with a detailed account of neutron interferometry experiments. The basic ideas and experiments related to coherence properties of matter waves and various post-selection criteria, gravitationally induced phase shifts, Berry's geometrical phase, spinor symmetry and spin superposition, Aharonov-Bohm topological interference effects, and the neutron version of the Sagnac effect are presented in a self-contained and pedagogical way. Interferometry with perfect crystals, artificial lattices, and spin-echo systems are topics of this book. It includes the theoretical motivations as well as connections to other areas of experimental physics, such as quantum optics, nuclear physics, gravitation, and atom interferometry. The book is written in a style that will be suitable at the beginning graduate level, and will excite many students and researchers in neutron physics, quantum optics, and atomic physics. Lecturers teaching courses in modern physics and quantum mechanics will find a number of interesting and historic experiments they may want to include in their lectures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Neutron Interferometry helps motivate the theoretical side of quantum mechanics by disclosing a world of experimental detail, centered on the neutron, that calls for and tests the principles of quantum theory. . . . [It] gives a thorough discussion of the important coherence parameters (longitudinal coherence length, transverse coherence length, coherence volume, coherence time, and so forth) that enter into an analysis of quantum interference, as well as experimental procedures for measuring these coherence parameters in the case of neutron beams. For readers in search of satisfyingly detailed descriptions of quantum interference phenomena, Neutron Interferometry is a gold mine of illustrative examples." — American Journal of Physics
For beginning graduate students of neutron, quantum, and atomic physics Rauch (U. of Austria, Vienna) and Werner (physics, U. of Missouri-Columbia) explain the theoretical motivation, instrumentation, and the result analysis of experimentally observing interference between coherently split, well-separated beams of matter waves. They discuss the experiments in terms of various post-selection criteria, gravitationally induced phase shifts, Berry's geometrical phase, spinor symmetry and spin superposition, Aharonov-Bohm topological interference effects, and the neutron version of the Sagnac effect. The interferometry they describe is of perfect crystals, artificial lattices, and spin-echo systems. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Helmut Rauch, Professor Emeritus, Technical University of Vienna,Samuel A. Werner, Curators' Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri; Guest Researcher, Neutron Physics Group, NIST

Helmut Rauch completed his PhD in 1965 and become full Professor in 1972. He spent one sabbatical year at KFA Juelich/Germany and worked regularly at the Institute Laue-Langevin in Grenoble/France. His scientific interests are: neutron physics, quantum optics, foundations of quantum mechanics, and reactor physics. He invented together with U. Bonse and W. Treimer the perfect crystal neutron interferometer, and has published more than 350 papers in refereed journals. He was Director of the Atomic Institute in Vienna, President of the Austrian Science Foundation and twice President of the Austrian Physical Society. He is member of the Austrian and German Physical Society, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the German Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina" in Halle. Honours include the Erwin Schrodinger Award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Ludwig Wittgenstein Award of the Austrian Research Association.

Samuel Werner received his AB degree at Dartmouth College in 1959 and his PhD degree at the University of Michigan in 1965. He was a staff scientist in the Physics Department of the Scientific Laboratory of the Ford Motor Company for 10 years. He became Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri in 1975. Upon his retirement from Missouri in 2000 he moved to Gaithersburg, MD to become a guest researcher at NIST. His scientific interests are: neutron scattering, neutron physics, spin density waves (CDW) and charge density waves (SDW) in solids. He received the President's Award for Outstanding Research at the University of Missouri in 1980, the Outstanding Alumnus Award of the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of Michigan in 1980, and an Exceptional Service Award of the Neutron Scattering Society of America in 2012. He was the first President of the NSSA. He is a Fellow of the NSSA, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Neutron interferometers and apparatus
3. Neutron interactions and coherent scattering lengths
4. Coherence properties
5. Spinor symmetry and spin superposition
6. Topological and geometric phases
7. Gravitational, non-inertial, and motional effects
8. Forthcoming and more speculative experiments
9. Solid State physics applications
10. Perfect-crystal neutron optics
11. Interpretational questions

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