Atom interferometry with picokelvin ensembles in microgravity [thesis]

Merle Cornelius, Universität Bremen, Claus Lämmerzahl
Atom interferometry enables precision measurements with outstanding sensitivities in a broad field of applications, ranging from fundamental physics to applications in geodesy or navigation. The development of robust and mobile devices paves the way for future satellite missions, e.g. striving for improved spaceborne gravimetry or a precision test of the universality of free fall. The sensitivity of an atom interferometer scales quadratically with the interrogation time. Consequentially,
more » ... onal sensitivities can be reached for interferometry with free evolving ensembles on time scales of several seconds, achievable by operating on a microgravity platform. Such long interrogation times necessarily require ensembles with ultra-low expansion rates, making collimated Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) the ideal input states. Therefore a method called magnetic lensing is used to narrow the momentum distribution. Together with the very good coherence properties of BECs, this reduces uncertainties in the interferometric measurement and enables high-fidelity beam splitter processes like Bragg diffraction. Within the scope of this thesis, a novel matter-wave lens system is presented to lower the internal kinetic energy of a BEC to the picokelvin regime, which is then used to perform interferometric measurements in microgravity. This is achieved with the QUANTUS-2 apparatus, a high-flux rubidium BEC machine based on atom chip technology, which operates at the drop tower in Bremen. Exploiting the excitation of a quadrupole mode in combination with a magnetic lens attains three-dimensional collimation of the BEC. With this technique, an unprecedented residual kinetic energy of $\sfrac{3}{2}k_B\cdot38\,$pK is achieved, where the ensemble is observed after an interrogation time of 2$\,$s with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Upgrading the experiment to realize single and double Bragg diffraction enables the first demonstration of a double Bragg-based interferometer in microgravity with a retro-reflection setup. The symmetric sp [...]
doi:10.26092/elib/1682 fatcat:nmt6a4n4jrfddnig2lm5zmwvdy