How to estimate the differential acceleration in a two-species atom interferometer to test the equivalence principle

Abstract : We propose a scheme for testing the weak equivalence principle (Universality of Free Fall) using an atom-interferometric measurement of the local differential acceleration between two atomic species with a large mass ratio as test masses. A apparatus in free fall can be used to track atomic free-fall trajectories over large distances. We show how the differential acceleration can be extracted from the interferometric signal using Bayesian statistical estimation, even in the case of a large mass and laser wavelength difference. We show that this statistical estimation method does not suffer from acceleration noise of the platform and does not require repeatable experimental conditions. We specialize our discussion to a dual potassium/rubidium interferometer and extend our protocol with other atomic mixtures. Finally, we discuss the performances of the UFF test developed for the free-fall (0-g) airplane in the ICE project (\verb"http://www.ice-space.fr")
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 2:07:07 AM
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Gaël Varoquaux, Robert Nyman, Rémi Geiger, Patrick Cheinet, Arnaud Landragin, et al.. How to estimate the differential acceleration in a two-species atom interferometer to test the equivalence principle. New Journal of Physics, Institute of Physics: Open Access Journals, 2009, 11, pp.113010. ⟨10.1088/1367-2630/11/11/113010⟩. ⟨hal-00423845⟩

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