Quantum Sensors with Colds Atoms: Fundamental Physics and Applications from Ground to Space
Abstract: The remarkable success of atom coherent manipulation techniques has motivated competitive research and development in precision metrology. Matter-wave inertial sensors – accelerometers, gyrometers, gravimeters – based on these techniques are all at the forefront of their respective measurement classes. Atom inertial sensors provide nowadays about the best accelerometers and gravimeters and allow, for instance, to make the most precise monitoring of gravity or to device precise tests of the weak equivalence principle (WEP). I present here some recent advances in these fields:
The outstanding developments of laser-cooling techniques and related technologies allowed the demonstration of an airborne matter-wave interferometers, which operated in the micro-gravity environment created during the parabolic flights of the Novespace Zero-g aircraft. Using two atomic species (for instance 39K and 87Rb) allows to verify that two massive bodies will undergo the same gravitational acceleration regardless of their mass or composition, allowing a test of the Weak Equivalence Principle postulated by Einstein.
New concepts of matter-wave interferometry can also be used to study the low frequency variations of the strain tensor of space-time and gravitation. For instance, the MIGA instrument, which is currently built in the underground laboratory in Rustrel, France will allow the monitoring of the evolution of the gravitational field at unprecedented sensitivity, which will be exploited both for geophysical studies and for Gravitational Waves (GWs) observations.
Bio: Dr. Philippe Bouyer is professor at the University of Amsterdam and Technical University of Eindhoven. He is also the coordinator of the Quantum Sensing program at Quantum Delta NL (Netherlands). He is the former Deputy Director of the Institute d’Optique (Nouvelle Aquitaine Branch, France) and founding Director of the Laboratory of Photonics, Digital and Nanosciences at CNRS, IOGS, Université Bordeaux. In addition, he is co-founder and advisory chief scientist of Muquans (now Exail), a France-based company dedicated to quantum precision sensors. Dr. Bouyer received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the École Normale Supérieure/laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Université Paris Sud. Subsequently, he was a visiting professor of physics at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, among other positions. His current research interest concerns matter-wave interferometry for tests of general relativity in microgravity and detection of gravitational waves. He is an APS fellow and recipient of the Louis D Grand Prix of the French Academy.
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