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K. Walter, S. Nimmrichter, and K. Hornberger
Multiphoton absorption in optical gratings for matter waves
Phys. Rev. A 94, 043637 (2016)


We present a theory for the diffraction of large molecules or nanoparticles at a standing light wave. Such particles can act as a genuine photon absorbers due to their numerous internal degrees of freedom effecting fast internal energy conversion. Our theory incorporates the interplay of three light-induced properties: the coherent phase modulation due to the dipole interaction, a nonunitary absorption-induced amplitude modulation described as a generalized measurement, and a coherent recoil splitting that resembles a quantum random walk in steps of the photon momentum. We discuss how these effects show up in near-field and far-field interference schemes, and we confirm our effective description by a dynamic evaluation of the grating interaction, which accounts for the internal states.

(12 pages, 7 figures)   [pdf, journal, arXiv:1608.07135]

doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.94.043637            (c) The American Physical Society