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IQS - Continuous sources of atoms for improving the sensitivity of inertial sensors (IP6)
Project responsable Pierre Thomann
   
Abstract Inertial atomic and photonic quantum sensors are devices that measure accelerations and rotations with the ultimate sensitivity. Their main applications lie in the field of geophysics: understanding the internal dynamics and structure of the Earth through its measured movements, its deformations, and slight variations of its gravitational field. In practice they may be used as powerful tools for prospecting the Earth's underground natural resources through surface measurements. Other applications include tests of fundamental physical theories, notably Einstein's theory of relativity, and space research.
The present project is a transdisciplinary contribution to a Eurocores/Euroquasar project: "Inertial atomic and photonic quantum sensors: ultimate performance and applications". The goal of this project is twofold: to push the state-of-the-art of instruments based on different principles (eg optical interferometry, atom interferometry), and to compare their performance in field tests involving different instruments in the same operating conditions.
As a result of its research activity on cold-atom fountain clocks, LTF has accumulated a valuable experience on continuous - as opposed to pulsed - sources of ultra-cold atom beams, on technological aspects related to these sources, such as ultra-high vacuum compatible, non-magnetic motors, as well as on theoretical developments on the use of continuous vs. pulsed atom sources in high performance sensors.
In the present project, we will investigate, in collaboration with three of the five main European laboratories involved in the development of cold-atom-based sensors, how to apply this "atomic clock" know-how to its best advantage in the new but closely related field of inertial sensors, with the main goal of contributing to instruments of ever improved sensitivity.
   
Keywords atomic physics, atom-light interactions, laser cooling of atoms, atomic clocks, atom interferometry, inertial sensors
   
Type of project Fundamental research project
Research area Physique de la matière condensée
Method of financing FNS - Encouragement de projets (spécial)
Status Completed
Start of project 1-6-2008
End of project 31-5-2011
Overall budget 467'715.00
Contact Pierre Thomann