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A transportable cold atom inertial sensor for space applications

Abstract : Atom interferometry has hugely benefitted from advances made in cold atom physics over the past twenty years, and ultra-precise quantum sensors are now available for a wide range of applications. In particular, cold atom interferometers have shown excellent performances in the field of acceleration and rotation measurements, and are foreseen as promising candidates for navigation, geophysics, geo-prospecting and tests of fundamental physics such as the Universality of Free Fall (UFF). In order to carry out a test of the UFF with atoms as test masses, one needs to compare precisely the accelerations of two atoms with different masses as they fall in the Earth's gravitational field. The sensitivity of atom interferometers scales like the square of the time during which the atoms are in free fall, and on ground this interrogation time is limited by the size of the experimental setup to a fraction of a second. Sending an atom interferometer in space would allow for several seconds of excellent free-fall conditions, and tests of the UFF could be carried out with precisions as low as 10^-15. However, cold
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 11:41:10 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00630127, version 1


Vincent Ménoret, Remi Geiger, Guillaume Stern, Patrick Cheinet, Baptiste Battelier, et al.. A transportable cold atom inertial sensor for space applications. International Conference on Space Optics, Oct 2010, Rhodes, Greece. pp.1. ⟨hal-00630127⟩



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