Optical polarizabilities of large molecules measured in near-field interferometry
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We discuss a novel application of matter wave interferometry to characterize the scalar optical polarizability of molecules at 532 nm. The interferometer presented here consists of two material absorptive gratings and one central optical phase grating. The interaction of the molecules with the standing light wave is determined by the optical dipole force and is therefore directly dependent on the molecular polarizability at the wavelength of the diffracting laser light. By comparing the observed matter-wave interference contrast with a theoretical model for several intensities of the standing light wave and molecular velocities, we can infer the polarizability in this first proof-of-principle experiment for the fullerenes C60 and C70, and we find a good agreement with literature values.
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