Volume 101, Number 6, March 2013
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||03 April 2013|
Non-local double-path Casimir phase in atom interferometers
1 Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (ARTEMIS), Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, CNRS 06304 Nice, France, EU
2 Theoretical Division, MS B213, Los Alamos National Laboratory - Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
3 Center for Nonlinear Studies
4 Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ 21941-972, Brazil
Received: 23 January 2013
Accepted: 4 March 2013
We present an open quantum system theory of atom interferometers evolving in the quantized electromagnetic field bounded by an ideal conductor. Our treatment reveals an unprecedented feature of matter-wave propagation, namely the appearance of a non-local double-path phase coherence. In the standard interpretation of interferometers, one associates well-defined separate phases to individual paths. Our non-local phase coherence is instead associated to pairs of paths. It arises from the coarse-graining over the quantized electromagnetic field and internal atomic degrees of freedom, which play the role of a common reservoir for the pair of paths and lead to a non-Hamiltonian evolution of the atomic waves. We develop a diagrammatic interpretation and estimate the non-local phase for realistic experimental parameters.
PACS: 03.65.Yz – Decoherence; open systems; quantum statistical methods / 42.50.Ct – Quantum description of interaction of light and matter; related experiments / 03.75.Dg – Atom and neutron interferometry
© EPLA, 2013
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