Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Electron matter optics and an electron Mach -Zehnder interferometer

Glen Everet Gronniger, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The diffraction of electrons by natural crystal structures was first observed in 1927. Before the start of this work, it was not clear whether or not the high quality gratings currently available could be used for electron diffraction due to image charge and other electron grating interactions. We observe for the first time electron diffraction from man made diffraction gratings of 100 nm periodicity. The high quality of diffraction and the ability to "pick" the periodicity allowed us to construct the first Mach-Zehnder electron interferometer using these gratings. Multiple approaches, including a prototype of our current interferometer and the combination of a grating with an electron bi-prism, were unsuccessful. Many stabilization issues must be overcome to observe electron interference fringes in the interferometer. Many experimental design ideas were used to reach proper stabilization requirements. The final interferometer design constructed was the only interferometer to obtain electron interference fringes. The theoretical model used to analyze the data is based on the path integral formalism. This calculates the amplitude associated with all classical paths through the experimental device. The sum of all amplitudes, the path integral, yields the resulting probability at the detection screen. We obtain good fits between our path integral calculations and experimental data. Alternate explanations of our data, such as the possibilities of Talbot Lau and classical Moiré interferometers are ruled out in favor of the Mach-Zehnder explanation. This type of interferometer could be used for future experiments. An experiment for which the fundamental quantum mechanical experiment has never been done; observing the dispersion-less nature of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect, may lend itself to the characteristics of this type of interferometer. Preliminary calculations have been performed to investigate the feasibility of using the grating technology to perform the required experiment.

Subject Area

Molecules|Atoms & subatomic particles|Optics

Recommended Citation

Gronniger, Glen Everet, "Electron matter optics and an electron Mach -Zehnder interferometer" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3237057.