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Decoherence and carbon -60

  1. Aug 19, 2004 #1
    http://www.quantum.univie.ac.at/res...matterwave/c60/


    This weblink is about C60 buckyballs passing through a diffraction grating and showing wave-like behaviour.Since the buckyballs are moving quite slowly -
    about 210 m/s would it be possible to fire a neutron beam through the buckyballs at right angles to their direction of travel and to get a neutron diffraction pattern of the buckyballs before and after they have passed through the grating,to see how they change.Such a procedure could yield information about how decoherence occurs.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2004 #2
    Suppose a cloud of 60 unbonded carbon atoms are fired simulataneously at the slits and the cloud has photons trapped in it corresponding to the energy a "hot" buckyball would radiate.We would expect an interference pattern to form
    because the photons ,if detected, cannot tell us which individual carbon atom travelled through which slit.My point is this:
    Decoherence probably doesn't happen for a "hot" buckyball because
    it must be behaving like the cloud of unbonded carbon atoms - we have no way of knowing which carbon atoms in the ball radiate an individual photon. And if a radioactive carbon 14 atom was introduced into each buckyball we could in principle by using a detector at one of the slits find out which atom emitted an alpha particle and we would expect the interference pattern to disappear altogether.
     
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