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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 9;100(18):180405. Epub 2008 May 8.

Atom interferometry with up to 24-photon-momentum-transfer beam splitters.

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  • 1Physics Department, Stanford University, 382 Via Pueblo Mall, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


We present up to 24-photon Bragg diffraction as a beam splitter in light-pulse atom interferometers to achieve the largest splitting in momentum space so far. Relative to the 2-photon processes used in the most sensitive present interferometers, these large momentum transfer beam splitters increase the phase shift 12-fold for Mach-Zehnder (MZ) and 144-fold for Ramsey-Bordé (RB) geometries. We achieve a high visibility of the interference fringes (up to 52% for MZ or 36% for RB) and long pulse separation times that are possible only in atomic fountain setups. As the atom's internal state is not changed, important systematic effects can cancel.

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