Applied Physics B

, Volume 84, Issue 4, pp 673–681

I.C.E.: a transportable atomic inertial sensor for test in microgravity

  • R.A. Nyman
  • G. Varoquaux
  • F. Lienhart
  • D. Chambon
  • S. Boussen
  • J.-F. Clément
  • T. Müller
  • G. Santarelli
  • F. Pereira Dos Santos
  • A. Clairon
  • A. Bresson
  • A. Landragin
  • P. Bouyer
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00340-006-2395-7

Cite this article as:
Nyman, R., Varoquaux, G., Lienhart, F. et al. Appl. Phys. B (2006) 84: 673. doi:10.1007/s00340-006-2395-7

Abstract

We present the construction of an atom interferometer for inertial sensing in microgravity, as part of the I.C.E. (Interférométrie Cohérente pour l’Espace) collaboration. On-board laser systems have been developed based on fibre-optic components, which are insensitive to mechanical vibrations and acoustic noise, have sub-MHz line width, and remain frequency stabilised for weeks at a time. A compact, transportable vacuum system has been built, and used for laser cooling and magneto-optical trapping. We will use a mixture of quantum degenerate gases, bosonic 87Rb and fermionic 40K, in order to find the optimal conditions for precision and sensitivity of inertial measurements. Microgravity will be realised in parabolic flights lasting up to 20 s in an Airbus. We investigate the experimental limits of our apparatus, and show that the factors limiting the sensitivity of a long-interrogation-time atomic inertial sensor are the phase noise in reference-frequency generation for Raman-pulse atomic beam splitters and acceleration fluctuations during free fall.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.A. Nyman
    • 1
  • G. Varoquaux
    • 1
  • F. Lienhart
    • 2
  • D. Chambon
    • 3
  • S. Boussen
    • 2
  • J.-F. Clément
    • 1
  • T. Müller
    • 4
  • G. Santarelli
    • 3
  • F. Pereira Dos Santos
    • 3
  • A. Clairon
    • 3
  • A. Bresson
    • 2
  • A. Landragin
    • 3
  • P. Bouyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l’Institut d’OptiqueCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Université Paris Sud 11Orsay CedexFrance
  2. 2.Chemin de la HunièreOffice National d’Etude et de Recherches AérospatialesPalaiseauFrance
  3. 3.LNE-SYRTE, UMR8630Observatoire de ParisParisFrance
  4. 4.Institute for Quantum OpticsUniversity of HannoverHannoverGermany