Light-pulse atom interferometry--in which laser pulses split, recombine, and interfere quantum mechanical atomic matter waves--is a valuable tool for a broad set of practical measurements and fundamental physics tests. Recent advances have enabled atom interferometers that enclose a large spacetime area between their two arms (up to tens of centimeters spatial separation between the arms, for a duration on the scale of one second), dramatically improving interferometer sensitivity to inertial and gravitational forces. The sensitivity of these interferometers was in large part enabled by using a 10-meter-tall atomic fountain, which allowed for multiple seconds of free-fall. Such a large apparatus cannot be used outside the laboratory for a practical sensor, and many other experiments of fundamental interest would also benefit from a more compact apparatus. The main research problem addressed by this proposal is to develop techniques that allow atom interferometers to achieve sensitivities similar to--or even larger than--those demonstrated in 10-meter-scale apparatus while maintaining a much smaller sensor size (50 cm or smaller sensor height).
|Effective start/end date||3/25/19 → 3/24/22|
- Office of Naval Research (N00014-19-1-2181 P00004)