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Airborne and underground matter-wave interferometers: geodesy, navigation and general relativité

Par Philippe Bouyer, LP2N, IOA, Talence

Mardi 10 décembre,  14h00, Salle des séminaires (215), 2e étage, Bât. A4N

Abstract :

The remarkable success of atom coherent manipulation techniques has motivated competitive research and development in precision metrology. Matter-wave inertial sensors – accelerometers, gyrometers, gravimeters – based on these techniques are all at the forefront of their respective measurement classes. Atom inertial sensors provide nowadays about the best accelerometers and gravimeters and allow, for instance, to make the most precise monitoring of gravity or to device precise tests of the weak equivalence principle (WEP). I present here some recent advances in these fields:
The outstanding developments of laser-cooling techniques and related technologies allowed the demonstration of an airborne matter-wave interferometers, which operated in the micro-gravity environment created during the parabolic flights of the Novespace Zero-g aircraft. Using two atomic species (for instance 39K and 87Rb) allows to verify that two massive bodies will undergo the same gravitational acceleration regardless of their mass or composition, allowing a test of the Weak Equivalence Principle (WEP).
New concepts of matter-wave interferometry can be used to study sub Hertz variations of the strain tensor of space-time and gravitation. For instance, the MIGA instrument, which is currently built in France, will allow the monitoring of the evolution of the gravitational field at unprecedented sensitivity, which will be exploited both for geophysical studies and for Gravitational Waves (GWs) detection.

Figure 1. Test of the equivalence principle with 2 atomic species in the weighlessness environement of the 0-g AIRBUS

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