Transient effects on electron spin observation

Larson, J, Garraway, B M and Stenholm, S (2004) Transient effects on electron spin observation. Physical Review A, 69. 032103. ISSN 1050-2947

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In an earlier publication we addressed the problem of splitting an electron beam in the Stern-Gerlach experiment. In contrast to arguments put forward in the early days of quantum theory, we concluded that there are no issues of principle preventing the observation of electron spin during free flight. In that paper, however, we considered only a sudden switch off of the separating magnetic field. In this work we consider the possible effects of finite switching times at the beginning and the end of the interaction period. We consider a model where the coupling between the electron and the field is time dependent. As a result of the time dependence, the field also acquires an electric component, but this seems to cause no significant change of our conclusions. On the other hand, the smooth change of the interaction enforces the same longitudinal velocity on the electron both at the beginning and end of the interaction period because of conservation laws; this effect was missing in our earlier calculations. As the electrons are supposed to travel as a beam, this feature helps by restoring the beam quality after the interaction.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Depositing User: Barry Garraway
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:00
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 13:30

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