In an atomic interferometer, the phase shift due to rotation is proportional to the area enclosed by the split components of the atom. However, this model is unclear for an atomic interferometer demonstrated recently by Shahriar et al., for which the atom simply passes through a single-zone optical beam, consisting of a pair of bichromatic counter-propagating beams. During the passage, the atomic wave packets in two distinct internal states couple to each other continuously. The two internal states trace out a complicated trajectory, guided by the optical beams, with the amplitude and spread of each wavepacket varying continuously. Yet, at the end of the single-zone excitation, there is an interference with fringe amplitudes that can reach a visibility close to unity. For such a situation, it is not clear how one would define the area of the interferometer, and therefore, what the rotation sensitivity of such an interferometer would be. In this paper we analyze this interferometer in order to determine its rotation sensitivity, and thereby determine its effective area. In many ways, the continuous interferometer (CI) can be thought of as a limiting version of the Borde-Chu Interferometer (BCI). We identify a quality factor that can be used to compare the performance of these interferometers. Under conditions of practical interest, we show that the rotation sensitivity of the CI can be comparable to that of the BCI. The relative simplicity of the CI (e.g., elimination of the task of precise angular alignment of the three zones) then makes it a potentially better candidate for practical atom interferometry for rotation sensing.
- Atom interferometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering