Matter-wave Interferometry for space-borne Inertial Sensors
Müntinga, Hauke
Universität Bremen: Physik/Elektrotechnik
atom interferometry, Bose-Einstein condensate, matter-wave interferometry, gravimeter, tiltmeter, space, interference, microgravity
Inertial sensors based on matter-wave interferometry are currently approaching the precision and accuracy of state-of-the-art classical sensors. While these devices are often realised with ultracold but not Bose-condensed atoms as matter waves, employing Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC) promises to overcome certain limitations, especially those related to the ensemble's expansion. The point-source like character of BECs also enables utilising spatial interference patterns to measure e.g. rotation rates in single-shot experiments. Matter wave-based inertial sensors are considered for experiments ranging from Gravitational Wave detection to tests of the Universality of Free Fall (UFF) to gain insight into the joint between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. In the scope of this thesis, matter-wave interferometry with BECs was demonstrated for the first time in a microgravity environment with the QUANTUS-1 apparatus. The same instrument was then employed as a quantum tiltmeter utilising a novel beam-splitting mechanism known as Bragg Double Diffraction. To this end, the QUANTUS-1 apparatus designed as a BEC instrument to be operated in the drop tower at ZARM at University of Bremen was equipped with optics and laser systems required for performing matter-wave interferometry based on Bragg Diffraction. The apparatus employs an atom chip to create BECs of around 10000 Rubidium 87 atoms within 15 s. With a Mach-Zehnder like interferometer scheme, spatial interference fringes were observed after a free evolution time in the interferometer of up to 677 ms. To achieve these long time scales, a method known as Delta-Kick Collimation (DKC) was adapted to slow the expansion of the BEC to a kinetic energy equivalent below 1 nK, and the atoms were transferred to a non-magnetic Zeeman state via an adiabatic rapid passage (ARP). A similar interferometer scheme with a newly developed beam-splitter mechanism known as Bragg Double Diffraction was used to measure the tilt of the instrument on ground with a precision of up to 4.4 AA rad. This thesis presents an overview of the apparatus including ground-based characterisations of all required experimental steps. Results from over 400 free fall experiments are evaluated for expansion studies of the BEC and matter-wave interferometry in microgravity. The time-evolution of first and second order Bragg Double Diffraction beam splitters is studied, and an interferometer sensitive to the tilt of the instrument is implemented. Based on this work, a gravimeter with a new launch mechanism comprising Bragg beam splitters and Bloch oscillations to enable atomic fountains in atom-chip based devices was developed. The microgravity experiments were adapted for the MAIUS-1 sounding-rocket instrument to create the first man-made BEC in outer space and study the feasibility of operating matter-wave interferometers on space-borne platforms. The results of this thesis lay the groundwork for future space-borne missions using matter-wave interferometry for precision measurements of inertial forces.
Matter-wave Interferometry for space-borne Inertial Sensors
[RefWorks] [Bibtex ]
[EndNote ] [RefMan(RIS) ]