Astrophotonics (AP)
Ultracold atom interferometry in space
Ultracold atom interferometry in space
Maike D. Lachmann; Holger Ahlers; Dennis Becker; Aline N. Dinkelaker; Jens Grosse; Ortwin Hellmig; Hauke Müntinga; Vladimir Schkolnik; Stephan T. Seidel; Thijs Wendrich; André Wenzlawski; Benjamin Carrick; Naceur Gaaloul; Daniel Lüdtke; Claus Braxmaier; Wolfgang Ertmer; Markus Krutzik; Claus Lämmerzahl; Achim Peters; Wolfgang P. Schleich; Klaus Sengstock; Andreas Wicht; Patrick Windpassinger; Ernst M. Rasel
Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in free fall constitute a promising source for space-borne interferometry. Indeed, BECs enjoy a slowly expanding wave function, display a large spatial coherence and can be engineered and probed by optical techniques. Here we explore matter-wave fringes of multiple spinor components of a BEC released in free fall employing light-pulses to drive Bragg processes and induce phase imprinting on a sounding rocket. The prevailing microgravity played a crucial role in the observation of these interferences which not only reveal the spatial coherence of the condensates but also allow us to measure differential forces. Our work marks the beginning of matter-wave interferometry in space with future applications in fundamental physics, navigation and earth observation.
Journal Article