Observation of polarized neutron interference in spin space
Interfaculty Reactor Institute, Delft University of
Mekelweg 15, 2629 JB Delft, The Netherlands
2 Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute - Gatchina, St. Petersburg 188350, Russia
Accepted: 5 May 2000
The coherent superposition of particle quantum states resulting from different spatial paths shows well-known interference effects. Another type of interference is Larmor precession, which can be described as neutron wave interference in spin space, i.e. interference on the same spatial path. Here we show several new manifestations of interference phenomena of the latter type. The interference is produced by coherent population of different spin states in a polarized neutron beam between two resonant radio-frequency (RF) spin flippers. Their spin flip probability, and thus the occupation numbers of the spin states, can be tuned between 0 and 1 by changing the RF amplitude. This leads to interference effects in the polarization since the energy exchanged between the RF field and spin yields different phase evolution in the spatial parts of the neutron states. Depending on the preparation of the initial neutron states, five values for the time-independent phase difference between the final neutron states can be observed.
PACS: 03.75.Dg – Atom and neutron interferometry / 42.25.Ja – Polarization / 76.90.+d – Other topics in magnetic resonances and relaxations
© EDP Sciences, 2000