Quantum reflection of helium atom beams from a microstructured grating

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Zhao, Bum Suk
Schulz, Stephan A.
Meek, Samuel A.
Meijer, Gerard
Schöllkopf, Wieland
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Abstract
Description
We observe high-resolution diffraction patterns of a thermal-energy helium-atom beam reflected from a microstructured surface grating at grazing incidence. The grating consists of 10-$\mu$m-wide Cr strips patterned on a quartz substrate and has a periodicity of 20 $\mu$m. Fully-resolved diffraction peaks up to the $7^{\rm th}$ order are observed at grazing angles up to 20 mrad. With changes in de Broglie wavelength or grazing angle the relative diffraction intensities show significant variations which shed light on the nature of the atom-surface interaction potential. The observations are explained in terms of quantum reflection at the long-range attractive Casimir-van der Waals potential.
Comment: 4 pages, 4 figures
Keywords
Physics - Atomic Physics
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