Simulating Decoherence of Neutron Wave Packets in Magnetic Fields

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Fluctuations of the magnetic field lead to a dephasing of polarized neutron wave packets and to an attenuation of the interference term of the Wigner distribution. It turns out that the Schrödinger equation can be solved exactly by using a constant space-dependent magnetic potential plus an arbitrary number of time-dependent cosine- and sine-shaped potentials with different frequencies and amplitudes. If the time oscillations are not resolved or if frequency fluctuations are taken into consideration, one can work out a procedure to take the damping characteristics of the interference term into account. An arbitrary statistical noise function can be constructed by Fourier´s theorem. This potential leads to depolarization due to a loss of phase correlation. One can simulate the transition from coherence to decoherence which can be used in ongoing spin-echo and quantum state reconstruction experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1108
Number of pages6
JournalFortschritte der Physik - Progress of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Research Field

  • Not defined


  • magnetic potential
  • neutron optics
  • phase space
  • quantum optics
  • decoherence
  • spin


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