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Neutron interferomerty with Protons?

  1. Dec 28, 2012 #1
    I have been looking for experiments demonstrating neutron interferomerty with protons or electrons instead, and found non. Should there be any difference? I refer to experiments in which, for example, the Mach-Zehnder interferometer is cut from a single crystal.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2012 #2


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    If you do interferometry with protons or electrons, it is not neutron interferomerty.

    Double-slit experiments with electrons and protons are possible. As they are charged, their interaction with matter is stronger, so it is tricky to send them through solid matter without significant incoherent interaction.
  4. Dec 29, 2012 #3
    mfb wrote "...it is tricky to send [electrons and protons] through solid matter without significant incoherent interaction."

    But electron crystalography is possible (Davisson got a Nobel for it) so it seems that, at least with the right choice of crystals, coherence is not lost in the interaction. Why, then, can't one make a large scale Mach-Zhender interferometer for electrons using those crystals as beam-splitters/reflectors, just as is done in the case of neutrons?
  5. Dec 29, 2012 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    If you diffract electrons, it is not neutron diffraction, is it?

    What you have been told here is correct - it is easier to get penetration into a material's bulk with neutrons than electrons. If you want to use electrons, it is difficult to probe beyond the surface.
  6. Dec 29, 2012 #5
    Ok, so the beam-splitter must be much thiner in an electronic MZ interferometer (thin enough for the electrons to pass though) but as I said, this has been done before and there is no loss of coherence. I still believe that there are no large scale electronic/protonic MZ interferometers for another reason.
  7. Dec 29, 2012 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    There are - and we keep telling you why. Protons and electrons interact with the bulk medium and as such are only suitable for surface measurements. Believe it or not - youir choice.
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