Decoherence, fluctuations and Wigner function in neutron optics

P. Facchi, A. Mariano, Saverio Pascazio, Martin Suda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyze the coherence properties of neutron wavepackets, alter they have interacted with a phase shifter undergoing different kinds of statistical fluctuation. We give a quantitative (and operational) definition of decoherence and compare it to the standard deviation of the distribution of the phase shifts. We find that in some cases the neutron ensemble is more coherent, even though it has interacted with a wider (i.e. more disordered) distribution of shifts. This feature is independent of the particular definition of decoherence: this is shown by proposing and discussing an alternative definition, based on the Wigner function, that displays a similar behavior. We briefly discuss the notion of entropy of the shifts and find that, in general, it does not correspond to that of decoherence of the neutron.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-298
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Optics B: Quantum and Semiclassical Optics
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Research Field

  • Not defined


  • decoherence
  • irreversibility
  • fluctuations
  • Wigner function


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