Molecular far-field diffraction

The molecular far-field diffraction apparatus is a machine designed to delocalize molecules up to a mass of 1000 atomic mass units, diffract them at a single nanomechanical grating, and prove the wave-nature of the delocalized molecules via the diffraction pattern in the optical far-field. It has been built in the group of Markus Arndt  [1] and is the experiment that I spent nearly all my time in the lab in Vienna at.

The experimental setup can be seen below. It consists of a 2 m long vacuum chamber in which the experiment takes place. The molecules start their journey at the source (1) where they are heated to a few hundred degrees centigrade and evaporate. The resulting beam of molecules flies through the vacuum chamber until it reaches the grating (2). Here the molecules are diffracted. The ensuing pattern is recorded around half a meter downstream at the detector (3).

In the following, the main components are presented.

More info about molecular interferometry can be found on the website of Markus Arndt. There exists even an interactive version where you can have a look at the setup and record your own diffraction pattern.









[1] T. Juffmann, A. Milic, M. Müllneritsch, P. Asenbaum, A. Tsukernik, J. Tüxen, M. Mayor, O. Cheshnovsky, and M. Arndt, “Real-time single-molecule imaging of quantum interferenceNat. Nanotechnol. 7, 297-300 (2012)