Antimatter wave interferometry. First observation.
I - Fisica nucleare e subnucleare
Aula Palazzo dell'Emiciclo - Sala B. Croce - Venerdì 27 h 09:00 - 12:00
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Interference of matter waves is at the heart of quantum physics and has been observed for a wide range of particles from electrons to complex molecules. In this work will be demonstrated matter wave interference of single positrons using a period-magnifying Talbot-Lau interferometer. The system produced high contrast periodic fringes, which were detected by means of nuclear emulsions capable of determining the impact point of each individual positron with submicrometric resolution. The measured energy dependence of fringe contrast in the range from 8 to 16 keV proves the quantum-mechanical origin of the periodic pattern and excludes classical projective effects, providing the first observation to date of antimatter wave interference. Some of the future applications of this interferometric technique will be illustrated, including decoherence studies and measurement of the gravitational acceleration of neutral antimatter systems that take advantage of the inertial detection capabilities of Talbot-Lau interferometry.