Diffraction of Complex Molecules by Structures Made of Light

Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 160401 – Published 26 September 2001
Olaf Nairz, Björn Brezger, Markus Arndt, and Anton Zeilinger


We demonstrate that structures made of light can be used to coherently control the motion of complex molecules. In particular, we show diffraction of the fullerenes C60 and C70 at a thin grating based on a standing light wave. We prove experimentally that the principles of this effect, well known from atom optics, can be successfully extended to massive and large molecules which are internally in a thermodynamic mixed state and which do not exhibit narrow optical resonances. Our results will be important for the observation of quantum interference with even larger and more complex objects.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.87.160401

  • Received 1 June 2001
  • Published 26 September 2001

© 2001 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Olaf Nairz, Björn Brezger, Markus Arndt, and Anton Zeilinger

  • Universität Wien, Institut für Experimentalphysik, Boltzmanngasse 5, A-1090 Wien, Austria

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