Advanced Materials

A Quantum-Stabilized Mirror for Atoms

Authors

  • Daniel Barredo,

    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • Fabian Calleja,

    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • Pablo Nieto,

    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • Juan José Hinarejos,

    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • Guillame Laurent,

    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • Amadeo L. Vázquez de Parga,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
    2. Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados en Nanociencia (IMDEA-Nanociencia) Facultad de Ciencias, Módulo C-IX-3a Planta Cantoblanco 28049, Madrid (Spain)
    • Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain).
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  • Daniel Farías,

    1. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • Rodolfo Miranda

    1. Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados en Nanociencia (IMDEA-Nanociencia) Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
    2. Departamento de Física de la Materia Condensada and Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales “Nicolás Cabrera” Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)
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  • We thank D. A. MacLaren for many useful discussions and B. Prost (ITME) for the ultraperfect Si(111) wafers. This work was supported by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia through projects FIS2007- 61114 and CONSOLIDER CSD-2007-00010, Comunidad de Madrid through project Nanomagnet S0505-MAT0194, and the European Union through the NEST-STREP project no. 509014, and by the Programa Ramón y Cajal (D.F.).

Abstract

“The smoothest surface ever made”, that is, a mirror for atoms comprising a Pb thin film on Si(111), is stabilized through quantum size effects to be atomically flat. It shows an absolute reflectivity for He atoms of 15%, and we report on how values close to 40% could be obtained. This highly reflective mirror can also be electrostatically bent to focus the He beam into a sub-micrometer spot. This implies that current prototype scanning helium atom microscopy/diffractometry instruments could easily reach nanometer resolution.

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