Sensing gravity by holding atoms for 20 seconds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Atom interferometry has proven both a powerful means for probing fundamental physics, and a promising technology for high-precision inertial sensing. However, their performance has been limited by the available interrogation time of atoms falling freely in Earth's gravitational field. Trapped geometries have thus been explored as a means to improve the sensitivity of atom interferometers, but attempts to date have suffered from decoherence caused by trap inhomogeneities. We have demonstrated a trapped atom interferometer with an unprecedented interrogation time of 20 seconds,1 achieved by trapping the interferometer in the resonant mode of an optical cavity. The cavity is instrumental to this advance, as it provides spatial mode filtering for the trapping potential. Because the interferometer is held with the arms vertically separated along the gravitational axis, a phase shift accumulates due to the gravitational potential energy difference between the arms. Moreover, this phase accumulates continuously during the hold time, providing an orders-of-magnitude greater immunity to vibrations than previous atom-interferometric gravimeters at the same sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical, Opto-Atomic, and Entanglement-Enhanced Precision Metrology II
EditorsSelim M. Shahriar, Jacob Scheuer
Number of pages8
Place of PublicationSan Francisco, California, USA
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2020
Article number112961R
ISBN (Electronic)9781510633551
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventOptical, Opto-Atomic, and Entanglement-Enhanced Precision Metrology II 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 1 Feb 20206 Feb 2020


ConferenceOptical, Opto-Atomic, and Entanglement-Enhanced Precision Metrology II 2020
LandUnited States
BySan Francisco
SponsorThe Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
SeriesProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 SPIE.

    Research areas

  • Atom interferometry, Atomic physics, metrology, optical cavities, optical lattices, quantum sensors

ID: 271554648