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Probing macroscopic quantum superpositions with nanorotors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Benjamin A Stickler, Birthe Papendell, Stefan Kuhn, Bjorn Schrinski, James Millen, Markus Arndt, Klaus Hornberger

Original languageEnglish
Article number122001
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNEW JOURNAL OF PHYSICS
Volume20
Early online date5 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Abstract

Whether quantum physics is universally valid is an open question with far-reaching implications. Intense research is therefore invested into testing the quantum superposition principle with ever heavier and more complex objects. Here we propose a radically new, experimentally viable route towards studies at the quantum-to-classical borderline by probing the orientational quantum revivals of a nanoscale rigid rotor. The proposed interference experiment testifies a macroscopic superposition of all possible orientations. It requires no diffraction grating, uses only a single levitated particle, and works with moderate motional temperatures under realistic environmental conditions. The first exploitation of quantum rotations of a massive object opens the door to new tests of quantum physics with submicron particles and to quantum gyroscopic torque sensors, holding the potential to improve state-of-the art devices by many orders of magnitude.

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