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Experimental realization of the Ehrenberg-Siday thought experiment
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In 1949, at the end of a paper dedicated to the concept of the refractive index in electron optics, Ehrenberg and Siday noted that wave-optical effects will arise from an isolated magnetic field even when the rays themselves travel in magnetic-field-free space. They proposed a two-slit experiment, in which a magnetic flux is enclosed between interfering electron beams. Now, through access to modern nanotechnology tools, we used a focused ion beam to open two nanosized slits in a gold-coated silicon nitride membrane and focused electron beam induced deposition to fabricate a thin magnetic bar between the two slits. We then performed Fraunhofer experiments in a transmission electron microscope equipped with a field emission gun and a Lorentz lens. By tilting the specimen in the objective lens field of the electron microscope, the magnetization of the bar could be reversed and the corresponding change in the phase of the electron wave observed directly in the form of a shift in the interference fringe pattern.
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