IQIM Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Seminar
Matter Wave Interferometry in Microgravity - Towards Quantum Sensors in Space
Abstract: Cold atom based quantum sensors such as matter wave interferometers will broadly benefit from reduced gravity conditions offered by space-borne platforms. By pushing the performance beyond what is accessible on Earth, these devices would not only open up new possibilities to support important applications within a wide range of scientific fields (e.g., Earth observation, navigation, metrology), but also provide a high-precision quantum based testbed to address some of the most fundamental questions of modern physics.
In this talk, I will present first interferometry experiments with degenerate quantum gases operated in microgravity, which have been performed within the QUANTUS project. In more than 250 free fall experiments conducted at the Bremen drop tower, the free evolution and phase coherence of an atom chip based Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) on macroscopic timescales have been explored. Combined with delta-kick cooling (DKC) techniques to further slow down the expansion of the atomic cloud, effective temperatures of about 1nK have been reached. High-contrast interferometric fringes were observed up to a total time in an asymmetric Mach-Zehnder interferometer of 2T = 677 ms.
In context of an upcoming generation of experiments, I will also discuss design and qualification of compact laser system technology optimized for precision measurement applications aboard double-stage sounding rockets and satellites, as well as the prospects of NASA's cold atom laboratory - a multi-user facility for the study of ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS).
Contact: Marcia Brown at 626-395-4013 email@example.com