Volume 78, Number 6, June 2007
Article Number 60003
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 24 May 2007
EPL, 78 (2007) 60003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/78/60003

Ultra thin coherent atom beam by Stern-Gerlach interferometry

F. Perales1, J. Robert2, J. Baudon1 and M. Ducloy1

1  Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers (CNRS-UMR 7538), Université Paris 13 - Avenue J.B. Clement, 93430-Villetaneuse, France
2  Laboratoire Aimé Cotton (CNRS-UPR 3321), Université Paris-Sud - Bât. 505, 91405-Orsay cedex, France

received 19 January 2007; accepted in final form 1 May 2007; published June 2007
published online 24 May 2007

It is demonstrated that a Stern-Gerlach interferometer including a special transverse phase shifter can generate an atomic beam of a small diameter (few tens of nm). Calculations carried out in a coherent regime confirm this point. They also show that the device is almost insensitive to velocity dispersion and that the required mechanical accuracy is quite accessible. Due to the peculiar transverse amplitude distribution (of the Lorentz type), the spreading of the generated beam profile is very small compared to that given by a circular diaphragm or a Gaussian profile of comparable initial diameter. This is a key property as regards applications, e.g. in atom lithography and surface probing.

03.75.-b - Matter waves.
03.75.Be - Atom and neutron optics.
39.20.+q - Atom interferometry techniques.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007