First attempt of neutron quantum state reconstruction

Matthias Baron, Helmut Rauch, Martin Suda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neutron interferometer set-up S 18 at the ILL reactor has been used for the first neutron quantum state reconstruction experiment. By a simultaneous measurement of the coherence function and of the modulated momentum distribution behind the interferometer, the Wigner function of various quantum states can be reconstructed. This is equivalent to knowledge of the particle wavefunction. Its spatial dimension follows from the measurement of the coherence function, which is the autocorrelation function of the wavefunction and the shape in momentum space follows from momentum post-selection experiments. Non-orthogonal traces through the (x, k)-phase space have to be measured for an unambiguous reconstruction. Nearly classical (coherent) and non-classical states in the form of Schrödinger cat-like states have been identified. Comparisons of calculated and measured Wigner functions will be shown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-244
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Optics B: Quantum and Semiclassical Optics
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Research Field

  • Not defined


  • neutron optics
  • neutron interferometry
  • Wigner function
  • quantum optics


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