Single-, double-, and triple-slit diffraction of molecular matter waves

Christian Brand (Corresponding author), Stephan Troyer, Christian Knobloch, Ori Cheshnovsky, Markus Arndt

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Even 100 years after its introduction by Louis de Broglie, the wave-nature of matter is often regarded asa mind-boggling phenomenon. To give an intuitive introduction to this field, we here discuss the diffractionof massive molecules through a single, double, and triple slit, as well as a nanomechanical grating. Whilethe experiments are in good agreement with undergraduate textbook predictions, we also observe pronounceddifferences resulting from the molecules’ mass and internal complexity. The molecules’ polarizability causes anattractive van der Waals interaction with the slit walls, which can be modified by rotating the nanomechanicalmask with respect to the molecular beam. The text is meant to introduce students and teachers to the concepts ofmolecule diffraction, supported by problems and solutions that can be discussed in class
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1138
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 103026 Quantum optics



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