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Matter-wave gravitational wave interferometers


The goal of this research is to study a novel technique to detect and measure gravity waves: atom interferometry. Current methods employ laser interferometry (both LIGO and VIRGO are on-line and they are broad-band instruments) or the excitation of resonance s in acoustic detectors. They will reach in the mid-future their physical sensitivity limits; it is therefore crucial to timely start developing alternative techniques and working on new approaches.

The mathematical treatment of matter-wave interferometers in a time-dependent gravity field has recently been a matter of debate and several papers have been published on the correct analytical framework. Beyond this important stage, which I am also interested in and consider the fundamental start of any related inquire activity, it will be necessary to walk all the steps needed to define viable interferometric configurations and especially to quantitatively assess their design sensitivity.

This implies identifying the relevant noise sources and quantifying their effect. Such a plan will involve several disciplines, from gravity wave phenomenology to matter-wave optics, and will also require mastering a variety of practical issues, from the generation and transport of high luminosity atom beams to the thorough study, simulation and operation of such high-sensitivity instruments. This kind of activity is in line with my past experience on novel techniques for envisioned future gravitational wave antennas and for the study and control of currently running ground-based laser interferometers.

I plan to conduct this research in close collaboration with both the INFN Laboratory and the Department of Physics in Florence, where many programs on gravitational wave astronomy are being advanced by an established group that is playing a leading role in both experimental and theoretical studies related to VIRGO. This combines with the presence of a worldwide known laboratory, for atom beam

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Via E. Fermi 40