Effective Inertial Frame in an Atom Interferometric Test of the Equivalence Principle

Chris Overstreet, Peter Asenbaum, Timothy Light Kovachy, Remy Notermans, Jason M. Hogan, Mark A. Kasevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


In an ideal test of the equivalence principle, the test masses fall in a common inertial frame. A real experiment is affected by gravity gradients, which introduce systematic errors by coupling to initial kinematic differences between the test masses. Here we demonstrate a method that reduces the sensitivity of a dual-species atom interferometer to initial kinematics by using a frequency shift of the mirror pulse to create an effective inertial frame for both atomic species. Using this method, we suppress the gravity-gradient-induced dependence of the differential phase on initial kinematic differences by 2 orders of magnitude and precisely measure these differences. We realize a relative precision of Δg/g≈6×10-11 per shot, which improves on the best previous result for a dual-species atom interferometer by more than 3 orders of magnitude. By reducing gravity gradient systematic errors to one part in 1013, these results pave the way for an atomic test of the equivalence principle at an accuracy comparable with state-of-the-art classical tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number183604
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 4 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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