Observing a coherent superposition of an atom and a molecule

Dowling, M. R., Bartlett, S. D., Rudolph, T. and Spekkens, R. W. (2006) Observing a coherent superposition of an atom and a molecule. Physical Review A, 74 5: 052113-1-052113-16. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.74.052113

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Author Dowling, M. R.
Bartlett, S. D.
Rudolph, T.
Spekkens, R. W.
Title Observing a coherent superposition of an atom and a molecule
Journal name Physical Review A   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1050-2947
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1103/PhysRevA.74.052113
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 74
Issue 5
Start page 052113-1
End page 052113-16
Total pages 16
Editor B Crasemann
Place of publication United States
Publisher American Physical Society
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
240301 Atomic and Molecular Physics
780102 Physical sciences
Abstract We demonstrate that it is possible, in principle, to perform a Ramsey-type interference experiment to exhibit a coherent superposition of a single atom and a diatomic molecule. This gedanken experiment, based on the techniques of Aharonov and Susskind [Phys. Rev. 155, 1428 (1967)], explicitly violates the commonly accepted superselection rule that forbids coherent superpositions of eigenstates of differing atom number. A Bose-Einstein condensate plays the role of a reference frame that allows for coherent operations analogous to Ramsey pulses. We also investigate an analogous gedanken experiment to exhibit a coherent superposition of a single boson and a fermion, violating the commonly accepted superselection rule forbidding coherent superpositions of states of differing particle statistics. In this case, the reference frame is realized by a multimode state of many fermions. This latter case reproduces all of the relevant features of Ramsey interferometry, including Ramsey fringes over many repetitions of the experiment. However, the apparent inability of this proposed experiment to produce well-defined relative phases between two distinct systems each described by a coherent superposition of a boson and a fermion demonstrates that there are additional, outstanding requirements to fully lift the univalence superselection rule.
Keyword Physics, Atomic, Molecular & Chemical
Bose-einstein Condensation
Charge Superselection Rule
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 09:45:34 EST