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Phononic Quantum Sensors for Gravity

Project description

Detecting gravitational fields with Bose-Einstein condensates

Bose-Einstein condensates – large groups of interacting atoms cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero – are very useful for high-precision metrology. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action programme, the PhoQuS-G project aims to investigate whether Bose-Einstein condensates consisting of phonons could be used to sense gravitational fields with high precision. The project will build on a new powerful numerical method that describes condensate splitting, trap-release and other condensate properties. High-precision sensing of gravitational fields would offer a variety of applications, from fundamental research to technological solutions. For example, knowledge about local gravitational fields (geodesy) could prove useful for mapping underground infrastructures or finding natural resources.


Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are extremely cold Bose gases consisting of a large number of interacting atoms. BECs have quantum properties that can be exploited perfectly for high precision metrology. The goal of the research project Phononic Quantum Sensors for Gravity (PhoQuS-G) is an extensive analytical and numerical analysis of the use of phonons (quasi-particles of phase and density perturbations) in BECs for high precision sensing of gravitational fields. The project will be built upon a powerful numerical method employed by the host group that enables the description of condensate splitting, trap release and other (strong) changes of the BEC. This method will be combined with an elaborate description of cold Bose gases, incorporating effects of quantum noise and finite temperature and providing access to second order correlation functions of the Bose gas.

The numerical approach will enable the analysis of the most promising parameter regimes and provide a description of the full time-evolution of BECs, including probe state preparation and measurement. Measurement precision will be optimized using methods of quantum metrology. A clear pathway will be given towards first gravimetry experiments with phonons in BECs. Such experiments can lead to the development of phononic quantum sensors, a very promising quantum technology. High precision sensing of gravitational fields offers a variety of applications - from fundamental research to technological solutions; for example, knowledge about local gravitational fields (geodesy) can be used to map underground infrastructures, find natural resources or ease navigation. As BECs exist on the micrometer scale, precise measurements of gravitational fields on short distances and of very small objects can be implemented far beyond the scales explored to date. This may offer opportunities for new exciting experiments investigating the interface of quantum mechanics and gravity.



Net EU contribution
€ 162 806,40
Unter den linden 6
10117 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00