A moiré deflectometer for antimatter
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The precise measurement of forces is one way to obtain deep insight into the fundamental interactions present in nature. In the context of neutral antimatter, the gravitational interaction is of high interest, potentially revealing new forces that violate the weak equivalence principle. Here we report on a successful extension of a tool from atom optics—the moiré deflectometer—for a measurement of the acceleration of slow antiprotons. The setup consists of two identical transmission gratings and a spatially resolving emulsion detector for antiproton annihilations. Absolute referencing of the observed antimatter pattern with a photon pattern experiencing no deflection allows the direct inference of forces present. The concept is also straightforwardly applicable to antihydrogen measurements as pursued by the AEgIS collaboration. The combination of these very different techniques from high energy and atomic physics opens a very promising route to the direct detection of the gravitational acceleration of neutral antimatter.