Record in Quantum Macroscopicity

Our near-field matter-wave interferometers allow demonstrating the quantum wave nature of massive objects.

As of 2019, a family of heavily functionalized oligoporphyrins holds the record for

  • the most massive single object in matter-wave experiments, here demonstrated in LUMI interferometry.
  • the most stringent interferometric test of non-linear extensions to non-relativistic quantum models, characterized by a quantum of macroscopicity of µ>14.
  • Simply said: if you wanted to exclude the existence of non-linear terms in quantum physics to the same level as done here and with the same relative fringe contrast, but using electron interferometry, you would need an electron coherence time of 3 million years for what we can deduce with a coherence time of 7 ms using 25 kDa massive macromolecules. 

These molecules were tailored and synthesized in the chemistry group around Prof. Marcel Mayor, University of Basel, and seen in our quantum interference experiments in Vienna.

  • Molecular mass: 25-28 kDa 
  • Number of covalently bound atoms: 1900-2000
  • De Broglie wavelength: about 50 fm
  • Molecular diameter: about 5-6 nm
  • Delocalization: more than 266 nm 
  • Coherence time: 7-10 ms
  • Number of vibrational modes: close to 6000  
  • Interference fringe contrast: about 30%


  1. Y. Y. Fein, P. Geyer, P. Zwick, F. Kiałka, S. Pedalino, M. Mayor, S. Gerlich, and M. Arndt,
    Quantum superposition of molecules beyond 25 kDa
    Nature Physics  (2019).
  2. F. Kiałka, B. Stickler, K. Hornberger, Y. Y. Fein, P. Geyer, L. Mairhofer, S. Gerlich, and M. Arndt, 
    Concepts for long-baseline high-mass matter-wave interferometry, 
    Phys. Scr. 94, 034001 (2018).
  3. S. Nimmrichter and K. Hornberger,
    Macroscopicity of Mechanical Quantum Superposition States,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 160403 (2013).