CORDIS - EU research results

Quantum Control of Gravity with Levitated Mechanics

Project description

Research leverages levitated particles to measure gravity on the smallest scales ever

The EU-funded QuCoM project will develop a proof-of-concept mechanical sensor to measure the gravitational force between very small masses. Project work involves suspending submillimetre particles in optical and magnetic traps to detect the smallest gravitational forces that have been reported to date. Project activities open up new possibilities for testing gravity laws on previously unattained small scales. QuCoM results will pave the way for experiments that probe the quantum nature of gravity.


The main objective of QuCoM is to demonstrate the proof of concept (TRL 1) of a levitated acceleration sensor and its ability detecting gravity of small masses and in the quantum controlled regime. Toward this objective we will explore the interplay between quantum mechanics and gravity in a parameter range accessible for cost-effective table-top experiments. We will suspend sub millimetre particles in optical and magnetic traps and use those to detect gravitational forces in an unprecedented mass regime. Also, we will investigate quantum superpositions in which these masses are delocalized. We will address some of the most popular theoretical proposals combining quantum physics and gravity in a nonstandard fashion. The proposed experiments will assess their limits of validity and/or further constrain the values of their parameters. The consortium consists of two experimentalists, two theorists, and two SMEs to address the objective. The experiments in question will be performed with optically and magnetically trapped micro/nano-particles based on the experimental expertise of partners in the consortium. Levitated mechanics experiments at Southampton have been already picked up by the EU Innovation radar. In QuCoM we will, go beyond and demonstrate the two-mass gravity sensing as well as the operation of our sensors in the quantum domain. The state preparation, control and analysis schemes are based on the expertise of the theory partners. QuCoM partner high-tech SMEs will help to optimize the experimental apparatus for fulfilment of the targeted objectives, which will in turn put them in a position to offer their improved products in sub mK, low vibration cryogenic equipment to market. The SME LSI will explore, together with University of Leiden, the feasibility of implementing our technology into a micro-satellite platform for space-based metrology and Earth Exploration utilizing gravitational detection. This is our direct technology impact and innovation case.


Net EU contribution
€ 478 388,69
34127 Trieste

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Nord-Est Friuli-Venezia Giulia Trieste
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 478 388,69

Participants (4)

Partners (2)