Alexander D. Cronin

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The development of nanotechnology and atom optics relies on understanding how atoms behave and interact with their environment. Isolated atoms can exhibit wavelike (coherent) behavior with a corresponding de Broglie wavelength and phase which can be affected by nearby surfaces. Here an atom interferometer is used to measure the phase shift of Na atom waves(More)
We measure the decoherence of a spatially separated atomic superposition due to spontaneous photon scattering. We observe a qualitative change in decoherence versus separation as the number of scattered photons increases, and verify quantitatively the decoherence rate constant in the many-photon limit. Our results illustrate an evolution of decoherence(More)
A new technique for maintaining high contrast in an atom interferometer is used to measure large de Broglie wave phase shifts. Dependence of an interaction induced phase on the atoms' velocity is compensated by applying an engineered counterphase. The counterphase is equivalent to a rotation, is precisely determined by a frequency, and can be used to(More)
We present an electron interferometer based on near-field diffraction from two nanostructure gratings. Lau fringes are observed with an imaging detector, and revivals in the fringe visibility occur as the separation between gratings is increased from 0 to 3 mm. This verifies that electron beams diffracted by nanostructures remain coherent after propagating(More)
An atom-surface interaction was detected by studying atom diffraction from a rotated material grating. A phasor diagram similar to the Cornu spiral was developed to explain why there are no missing orders in atom diffraction from material gratings. We also show that atom-surface interactions combined with rotated grating structures can produce asymmetric,(More)
In atom optics a material structure is commonly regarded as an amplitude mask for atom waves. However, atomic diffraction patterns formed using material gratings indicate that material structures also operate as phase masks. In this study a well collimated beam of sodium atoms is used to illuminate a silicon nitride grating with a period of 100 nm. During(More)
Light at a magic-zero wavelength causes a zero energy shift for an atom. We measured the longest magic-zero wavelength for ground state potassium atoms to be λ(zero)=768.9712(15) nm, and we show how this measurement provides an improved experimental benchmark for atomic structure calculations. This λ(zero) measurement determines the ratio of the potassium(More)
Atom optics is the coherent manipulation of the atomic matter waves originally postulated by the developers of quantum mechanics. These pioneers also proposed the use of stimulated light forces to manipulate particles. These ideas have been combined with current technology to produce the field of atom optics. This, in turn, has shed new light on old quantum(More)
Decoherence due to scattering from background gas particles is observed for the first time in a Mach-Zehnder atom interferometer, and compared with decoherence due to scattering photons. A single theory is shown to describe decoherence due to scattering either atoms or photons. Predictions from this theory are tested by experiments with different species of(More)