Atomic matter wave physics, originating in pioneering experiments at MIT in the early 80s, has developed into a vibrant field of atomic and molecular science. Our own research at the University of Vienna builds on these ideas and we have extended them to objects of unprecedented mass and complexity.
I will report on coherent beam splitter and interferometer techniques that allow us to realize quantum states with macromolecules and clusters that can be composed of about 103 covalently bound atoms or more than a dozen organic molecules, each. With an interest in the de Broglie wave nature of biomolecular materials, such as vitamins, amino acids peptides or DNA structures, we are now focusing on new processes that allow us to volatilize and detect thermo-sensitive molecular materials at low velocity with high sensitivity.
Our experiments aim at testing the linearity of quantum physics at high masses and at using quantum optics for improved measurements on the building blocks of life.