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Quantum-assisted Metrology

The three matter-wave interferometers operated in QuNaBioS are worldwide unique prototypes which generate high-contrast molecular density patterns on the nanometer to micrometer scale by virtue of quantum interference.

This nanostructure renders quantum interference patterns highly sensitive force sensors with the complex molecules being both the force transducer and the object of interest. Our machines sense various external perturbations, in particular also electrical, optical and magnetic fields in interaction with the corresponding molecular  properties.

We make use of this high sensitivity by manipulating this interference pattern in a multitude of ways:

  • The momentum transfer from individual photons to individual molecules leads to a measurable shift and dephasing of the quantum interferogram, allowing to extraxt absolute absorption cross sections with high accuracy and at ultra-low molecular densities.
  • The fringe deflection in static electric fields open the way to measure the static and dynamic polarizability or the permanent electric dipole moment of molecules.
  • Exposure to static magnetic fields shall allow to retrieve magnetic moments and susceptibilities.


Ongoing experiments aim at applying our new spectroscopical and deflectometry techniques to biomolecules in a biomimetic nanosurrounding and as a function of their photo-isomerization status.

This shall provide a better understanding of the molecular properties and how these are influenced by the environment.

This work was started with functionalized organic molecules Рin fruitful collaboration with chemists at the Unviersity of Basel, around Prof. Marcel Mayor Рand is being extended to biomolecules within QuNaBioS as well as in cooperation with the Basel team around Valentin Köhler & Marcel Mayor.