Neutron Interferometry and Quantum Mechanics

  • Helmut Rauch
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 144)


Since the invention of perfect crystal neutron interferometry this technique has become an important tool for the realization of many textbook experiments of quantum mechanics. Widely separated coherent beams of thermal neutrons are produced and superposed by dynamical Bragg diffraction from a properly shaped perfect crystal. The observed interference patterns show the characteristic coherence properties of matter waves which are influenced by the individual particle and by ensemble properties. The verification of the 4π-periodicity of spinor wave functions and the accomplishment of the spin-superposition experiment on a macroscopic scale becomes feasible by this technique. The influence of gravity and of the Earth’s rotation on the wave function become visible at a level of a massive elementary particle. All results are in agreement with the formulation of quantum mechanics but, nevertheless, they stimulate discussion about its interpretation. The particle-wave dualism becomes obvious on a macroscopic scale and with a beam of massive particles.


Interference Pattern Perfect Crystal Beam Path Coherent Beam Zeeman Energy 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helmut Rauch
    • 1
  1. 1.Atominstitut der Österreichischen UniversitätenViennaAustria

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