in: "Compendium of Quantum Physics",
D. Greenberger, K. Hentschel, F. Weinert (Hrg.);
Neutrons are elementary massive particles consisting of one "up" and two "down" quarks; but in neutron interference experiments they exhibit wave features only. In this case, the ► wave function describing thermal neutrons can be split, reflected and superposed coherently by means of dynamical Bragg diffraction from a perfect silicon single crystal. The coherent beam parts are widely separated, and they can be influenced individually by nuclear, magnetic or gravitational interaction. This technique has first been tested 1974 at a small 250kW TRIGA reactor in Vienna. The monolithic design of such interferometers guarantees the parallelism of the reflecting lattice planes up to a fraction of their lattice distance, which is a necessary condition for coherent beam splitting. This experimental method has been adapted from X-ray interferometry developed earlier. The figure shows various types of such interferometers as they are used now at several neutron sources around the world.
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