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Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Physics

Atom interferometry in free flight

Philippe Bouyer and co-workers in France performed a range of impressive experiments with an atom interferometer in free flight, onboard an Airbus aircraft making "micro-gravity jumps". These experiments successfully demonstrate that when atoms are sufficiently cooled and controlled, their wave properties can be used to perform interferometry in a way analogous to standard interferometry with light. This moves the field closer to the implementation of a range of sensors for e.g. gravity, rotation and inertia with unprecedented accuracy. Such devices will be potentially very useful in satellites and in space missions.

To read the full paper by Philippe Bouyer et al. on "Light-pulse atom interferometry in microgravity" click here

M. Eckert and J.D. Wells
ISSN (Print Edition): 2102-6459
ISSN (Electronic Edition): 2102-6467

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