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University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Quantum Physics

Kapitza-Dirac Effect

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Observation Of The Kapitza-Dirac Effect, Daniel L. Freimund, Kayvan Aflatooni, Herman Batelaan Sep 2001

Observation Of The Kapitza-Dirac Effect, Daniel L. Freimund, Kayvan Aflatooni, Herman Batelaan

Faculty Publications, Department of Physics and Astronomy

In their famous 1927 experiment, Davisson and Germer observed the diffraction of electrons by a periodic material structure, so showing that electrons can behave like waves. Shortly afterwards, Kapitza and Dirac predicted that electrons should also be diffracted by a standing light wave. This Kapitza-Dirac effect is analogous to the diffraction of light by a grating, but with the roles of the wave and matter reversed. The electron and the light grating interact extremely weakly, via the ‘ponderomotive potential,’ so attempts to measure the Kapitza-Dirac effect had to wait for the development of the laser. The idea that the underlying ...