Creation and Detection of Molecular Schrödinger Cat States: Iodine in Cryogenic Krypton Observed via Four-Wave-Mixing Optics

  • David Picconi
  • Irene BurghardtEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Physics book series (SPPHY, volume 237)


This contribution addresses the experimental observation and  theoretical interpretation of environment-induced decoherence of molecular Schrödinger cat states, as observed for dihalogen molecules embedded in a cryogenic rare gas environment. We specifically address a three-pulse experiment performed on an \(\mathrm {I_2}\)-krypton system,  involving the coherent creation, by two distinct optical pulses, of a vibrational Schrödinger cat state and its observation through a third pulse which induces a Raman scattering signal that reports on the time-evolving coherence.  Full quantum-mechanical simulations of the combined molecule-plus-environment system under the influence of the external fields are reported, making use of advanced wave packet propagation techniques. As a key quantity, a time-evolving subsystem coherence matrix is characterized, and its evolution as a function of the state preparation is discussed. In line with the experiment, it is found that long-lived coherences can be observed, even though the system-bath coupling is comparatively strong. The system–environment interactions fall into a non-Markovian regime and are determined by a few specific environmental modes that strongly interact with the chromophore. A perspective is given on general implications of these observations for molecular systems embedded in a matrix or solvent environment.


Schrödinger cat states Decoherence Long-lived coherences Four-wave-mixing Gaussian-based multi-configurational time-dependent Hartree method 



We most gratefully acknowledge discussions with Jeff Cina and Ara Apkarian.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Physical and Theoretical ChemistryGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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