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Physics  2003 

Collisional decoherence observed in matter wave interferometry

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.160401

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We study the loss of spatial coherence in the extended wave function of fullerenes due to collisions with background gases. From the gradual suppression of quantum interference with increasing gas pressure we are able to support quantitatively both the predictions of decoherence theory and our picture of the interaction process. We thus explore the practical limits of matter wave interferometry at finite gas pressures and estimate the required experimental vacuum conditions for interferometry with even larger objects.


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