Trapped Atom Interferometers in Optical Lattices

The long-term vision of TAIOL project is to develop a novel class of quantum sensors based on trapped atom interferometry with performances that will overcome state of the art, and to extend their range of operation for high precision measurements in applied and fundamental physics.

In such sensors, atoms are split into a quantum superposition of two spatially separated states in the presence of an external force. The resulting difference in potential energy between the two spatial states leads to a differential phase evolution, which is read out by recombining them after some interrogation time, thus creating an atomic interferometer. In this measurement scheme, the sensitivity in the force measurement increases linearly with the spatial separation and the interrogation time. The use of trapped atoms allows here for reaching very long interrogation times, of up to several seconds, without having to increase the size of the physical package. This is a key advantage with respect to sensors based on freely falling atoms, for which such long interrogation times would imply free fall distances of tens of meters, which allows to envision the development of very compact sensors. In addition, it enables to perform local measurements of external fields with very high spatial resolution, of less than a micrometer.

The aim of TAIOL is to push the performance of sensors based on atom interferometry, using ultracold atoms confined in optical lattices, well beyond the levels reached by the few proof-of-principle experiments that have explored so far guided and trapped architectures. For that purpose, innovative approaches and methods will be explored for separating split atomic samples further apart, from tens of micrometers to millimeters, while maintaining the quantum coherence, and for taming harmful effects related to the interactions between the trapped atoms, by either controlling the strength of these interactions or using novel sources of ultra-cold atoms. The project outputs will open new possibilities for a wide range of applications, such as inertial sensing, inertial navigation, gravity field mapping, physical laws testing, surface interactions, with the perspective of future industrial implementations.

CONSORTIUM

  • Coordinator: Franck Pereira dos Santos (Observatoire de Paris/SYRTE, FR)
  • Andrea Bertoldi (LP2N, FR)
  • Ernst Rasel (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institut für Quantenoptik, DE)
  • Marco Fattori (CNR-INO, IT)
  • Jan Chwedeńczuk (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics, PL)