Volume 88, Number 2, October 2009
Article Number 20002
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 28 October 2009
EPL, 88 (2009) 20002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/88/20002

Dispersive atom interferometry phase shifts due to atom-surface interactions

S. Lepoutre1, H. Jelassi1, V. P. A. Lonij2, G. Trénec1, M. Büchner1, A. D. Cronin2 and J. Vigué1

1   Laboratoire Collisions Agrégats Réactivité IRSAMC; Université de Toulouse-UPS and CNRS UMR 5589 F-31062 Toulouse, France, EU
2   Department of Physics, University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ 85721, USA

received 25 June 2009; accepted in final form 1 October 2009; published October 2009
published online 28 October 2009

We used the Toulouse atom interferometer to study how Van der Waals (VdW) interactions between atoms and surfaces cause velocity-dependent phase shifts for atomic de Broglie waves. By introducing a thin nano-grating in one branch of this interferometer, we observed a phase shift that depends on velocity to the power -0.49. This dispersion serves to measure both the strength and the position dependence of the atom-surface potential in the range from 5 to 10 nm from the surface, and it can also set new limits on non-Newtonian gravity in the 2 nm range.

03.75.Dg - Atom and neutron interferometry.
34.50.-s - Scattering of atoms and molecules.
34.20.-b - Interatomic and intermolecular potentials and forces, potential energy surfaces for collisions.

© EPLA 2009