Fundamental Physics with Quantum Matter in Microgravity

21 02/2014

Friday, 21 Feb. 2014, 14:00 - 16:00

Presenter: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ertmer
Host: Prof. Anton Zeilinger
Where: Christian Doppler Hörsaal, Boltzmanngasse 5, 3rd Floor, 1090 Vienna

Coherent matter wave sources and coherent matter wave optics have reached a level ofperformance where gravity based effects may impose severe perturbations. Thus, microgravity can open new areas in which energy levels in the femto Kelvin regime get intoreach. In addition, microgravity will allow new fundamental tests and new regimes ofquantum metrology. With a chip based atom laser wecan generate thermal ensemble as well as Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC). With the help ofdelta kick cooling, implemented via the atom chip, we can further slow down the expansionof thermal and condensed atoms, reducing tremendously the expansion of the atomicensemble. Benefiting from the extended free fall in microgravity we couldcombine this with an asymmetric Mach-Zehnder type interferometer over hundreds ofmilliseconds to study the coherence and to analyse the delta kick cooling with the help of theobserved interference fringes. The design is employed for a rocket based test of such an interferometer and will demonstrate the feasibility of a satellite-based test of Einstein’s principle of equivalence.