Light-pulse atom interferometry in microgravity

Abstract : We describe the operation of a light pulse interferometer using cold 87Rb atoms in reduced gravity. Using a series of two Raman transitions induced by light pulses, we have obtained Ramsey fringes in the low gravity environment achieved during parabolic flights. With our compact apparatus, we have operated in a regime which is not accessible on ground. In the much lower gravity environment and lower vibration level of a satellite, our cold atom interferometer could measure accelerations with a sensitivity orders of magnitude better than the best ground based accelerometers and close to proven spaced-based ones.
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Guillaume Stern, Baptiste Battelier, Rémi Geiger, Gaël Varoquaux, André Villing, et al.. Light-pulse atom interferometry in microgravity. The European Physical Journal D, EDP Sciences, 2009, 53 (3), pp.353. ⟨10.1140/epjd/e2009-00150-5⟩. ⟨hal-00369287⟩

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