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Accueil > Publications > Publications par année > Année 2012

He-McKellar-Wilkens Topological Phase in Atom Interferometry

We report an experimental test of the topological phase predicted by He and McKellar in 1993 and by Wilkens in 1994 : this phase, which appears when an electric dipole propagates in a magnetic field, is connected to the Aharonov-Casher effect by electric-magnetic duality. The He-McKellar-Wilkens phase is quite small, at most 27 mrad in our experiment, and this experiment requires the high phase sensitivity of our atom interferometer with spatially separated arms as well as symmetry reversals such as the direction of the electric and magnetic fields. The measured value of the He-McKellar-Wilkens phase differs by 31% from its theoretical value, a difference possibly due to some as yet uncontrolled systematic errors.

Voir en ligne : Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 120404 (2012)