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Near-field diffraction of protons by a nanostructured metallic grating under external electric field: Asymmetry and sidebands in Talbot self-imaging

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posted on 2023-04-22, 16:01 authored by Sushanta Barman, Sudeep Bhattacharjee
Self-imaging in near-field diffraction is a practical application of coherent manipulation of matter waves in Talbot interferometry. In this work, near-field diffraction of protons by a nanostructured metallic grating under the influence of (a) uniform, (b) spatially modulated, and (c) temporally modulated electric fields are investigated. Time-domain simulations of two-dimensional Gaussian wave packets for protons are performed by solving the time-dependent Schr\"odinger's equation using the generalized finite difference time domain (GFDTD-Q) method for quantum systems. Effects of strength ($E_0$) and orientation ($\theta$) of the uniform electric field on the diffraction properties, such as fringe pattern, intensity of the peaks, fringe shift, and visibility, are investigated. The results show that the Talbot fringes shift significantly in the transverse direction even for a small change in the applied electric field ($\Delta E_0$ $=0.1$ V/m) and its orientation ($\Delta \theta$ $=0.1^o$). The potential barriers arising from a spatially modulated electric field are observed to cause significant distortions in the Talbot patterns when the modulation length ($\lambda'$) is equal to the de Broglie wavelength ($\lambda_{dB}$). Sidebands are observed in the Talbot pattern due to the efficient transfer of energy from the oscillating field to the wave packet when the frequency of oscillation ($\omega$) is of the order of $\omega_0$ ($=2\pi/T_0$), where $T_0$ is the interaction time. This study will be helpful in uniform electric field-controlled precision metrology, developing a highly sensitive electric field sensor based on Talbot interference, and precisely aligning the matter wave optical setup. Furthermore, the sidebands in the Talbot fringe can be used as a precise tool as momentum splitter in matter wave interferometry.

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