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Neutron Interferometer Crystallographic Imperfections and Gravitationally Induced Quantum Interference Measurements



Michael G. Huber, Muhammad D. Arif, Dimitry A. Pushin, A.R. Young, B. Heacock, Robert Haun


Dynamical diffraction leads to an interesting, unavoidable set of interference effects for neutron interferometers. This experiment studies the interference signal from two and three successive Bragg diffractions in the Laue geometry. We find that intrinsic Bragg-plane misalignment in monolithic, "perfect" silicon neutron interferometers is relevant between successive diffracting crystals, as well as within the Borrmann fan for typical interferometer geometries. We show that the dynamical phase correction employed in the Colella, Overhauser, and Werner gravitationally induced quantum interference experiments is attenuated by slight, intrinsic misalignments between diffracting crystals, potentially explaining the long-standing 1% discrepancy between theory and experiment. This systematic may also impact precision measurements of the silicon structure factor, affecting previous and future measurements of the Debye-Waller factor and neutron-electron scattering length as well as potential fifth-force searches. For the interferometers used in this experiment, Bragg planes of different diffracting crystals were found to be misaligned by 10 to 40 nrad.
Physical Review A (Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics)


COW, interferometers, Laue geometry


Huber, M. , Arif, M. , Pushin, D. , Young, A. , Heacock, B. and Haun, R. (2017), Neutron Interferometer Crystallographic Imperfections and Gravitationally Induced Quantum Interference Measurements, Physical Review A (Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics), [online],, (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created January 25, 2017, Updated May 3, 2021