Indexed on: 08 Aug '09Published on: 08 Aug '09Published in: Physical review letters
We present an experiment where we tune the decoherence in a quantum interferometer using one of the simplest objects available in the physics of quantum conductors: an Ohmic contact. For that purpose, we designed an electronic Mach-Zehnder interferometer which has one of its two arms connected to an Ohmic contact through a quantum point contact. At low temperature, we observe quantum interference patterns with a visibility up to 57%. Increasing the connection between one arm of the interferometer to the floating Ohmic contact, the voltage probe, reduces quantum interference as it probes the electron trajectory. This unique experimental realization of a voltage probe works as a trivial which-path detector whose efficiency can be simply tuned by a gate voltage.