HomeNewsPhysicsUsing molecules and atoms to conduct the double-slit experiment

Using molecules and atoms to conduct the double-slit experiment


Fig. S1 The homonuclear nature of D2 suggests symmetry of the scattering trajectories for the + and − alignment. Note how the highest panel mirrors to the underside. As a consequence, scattering from + at (θ, φ) is equal of scattering from − at (θ, –φ). Credit: DOI: 10.1126/science.abl4143

A crew of researchers at Stanford University has developed a technique to conduct the well-known double-slit experiment on the molecular stage. In their paper printed within the journal Science, the group describes their method and recommend that it might be used to help with different molecular experiments.


In 1801, Thomas Young performed what has come to be often known as the . At the time, he used it as a method to show that mild behaves as a wave. Since that point, mild has been discovered to additionally behave as a particle in fact, and the double-slit experiment has since been performed in varied methods beneath varied situations. Others have proven that electrons and and exhibit the identical sort of conduct. In this new effort, the researchers have taken the experiment to a brand new stage through the use of nothing however molecules, single atoms and lasers. In the unique double-slit experiment, the sunshine handed by means of each slits in a superposition of trajectories. In this new methodology, there is just one slit, however it’s in a superposition of positions.

The experiment by the crew concerned making a beam of deuterium and helium molecules in a chamber cooled to –272°C. They then used pairs of polarized laser bursts to push deuterium molecules right into a sure vibrational and rotational state with totally different orientations—at proper angles to 1 one other. These served because the slits for the experiment. The crew additionally pressured different deuterium molecules right into a state the place they had been suppositions of each of the orientations of the slits. As helium atoms scattered off the superposed molecules (alongside totally different paths that interfered with each other), the deuterium might in a way “feel” them each on the similar time. And because the helium atoms collided with the molecules, the atoms had been launched again to their authentic state at which level, they had been ionized and studied by the analysis crew.

The researchers recommend that along with conducting the double-slit experiment in a brand new manner, their work additionally lays the groundwork for finding out quantum conduct in a brand new manner—by getting ready new sorts of matter. They conclude by suggesting that their methods is also tailored to be used in finding out decoherence.


Classic double-slit experiment in a new light


More data:
Haowen Zhou et al, Quantum mechanical double slit for molecular scattering, Science (2021). DOI: 10.1126/science.abl4143

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Using molecules and atoms to conduct the double-slit experiment (2021, November 26)
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