Imaging of spatial many-body wave functions via linear momentum measurements
The equivalence of a complete characterization of linear momenta of fragments from a many-body fragmentation process and the spatial wave function of the many-body system is discussed. Our experiment on three-body dissociation of state selected H3 and D3 molecules into ground-state hydrogen atoms strongly suggests the existence of such a close relationship as it is also predicted by theory in the form of the imaging theorem. We conclude that prudent imaging of many-body fragmentation provides a laboratory view of the squared many-body wave function at a spatial scale of molecular dimensions at which fragments exit into the realm of independent free particles.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Imaging molecular dynamics