ForschungTopical Groups
Space Laser Gravimetry

Space Laser Gravimetry


  • Study and develop novel concepts for inertial sensing and inter-satellite ranging using laser interferometry in order to improve measurements of Earth’s gravity field
    • Optical accelerometers and gradiometers
    • Alternative optical layouts for laser ranging systems
  • Investigate new measurement channels that contain gravity field information based on
    • Clocks
    • Centrifugal acceleration sensing
  • Experimental demonstration of optical accelerometers and inter-satellite ranging interferometers for future geodesy missions
    • Torsion balance facility
  • Data analysis for the Laser Ranging Interferometer on GRACE Follow-On
    • Processing of ranging data with sub-nanometer precision level


  • Space missions & payloads
  • Laser interferometry
  • Torsion balance facility
  • Data analysis


Meshksar N, Mehmet M, Isleif KS, Heinzel G. Applying differential wave-front sensing and differential power sensing for simultaneous precise and wide-range test-mass rotation measurements. Sensors (Switzerland). 2021 Jan 1;21(1):1-11. 164. doi.org/10.3390/s21010164

Yan Y, Müller V, Heinzel G, Zhong M. Revisiting the light time correction in gravimetric missions like GRACE and GRACE follow-on. Journal of Geodesy. 2021 Mai;95(5). 48. doi.org/10.1007/s00190-021-01498-5

Zhong L, Sośnica K, Weigelt M, Liu B, Zou X. Time-Variable Gravity Field from the Combination of HLSST and SLR. Remote sensing. 2021 Sep 2;13(17). 3491. doi.org/10.3390/rs13173491

Heinzel G, Álvarez MD, Pizzella A, Brause N, Delgado JJE. Tracking Length and Differential-Wavefront-Sensing Signals from Quadrant Photodiodes in Heterodyne Interferometers with Digital Phase-Locked-Loop Readout. Physical Review Applied. 2020 Nov 6;14(5). 054013. doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.14.054013

Müller J, Wu H. Using quantum optical sensors for determining the Earth’s gravity field from space. Journal of geodesy. 2020 Aug 1;94(8). 71. doi.org/10.1007/s00190-020-01401-8

Wegener H, Müller V, Heinzel G, Misfeldt M. Tilt-to-length coupling in the grace follow-on laser ranging interferometer. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 2020 Jul 27;57(6):1362-1372. doi.org/10.2514/1.A34790

Wu H, Müller J. Towards an International Height Reference Frame Using Clock Networks. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/1345_2020_97

Yang Y, Yamamoto K, Huarcaya V, Vorndamme C, Penkert D, Barranco GF et al. Single-element dual-interferometer for precision inertial sensing. Sensors (Switzerland). 2020 Sep 3;20(17):1-17. 4986. doi.org/10.3390/s20174986

Isleif KS, Heinzel G, Mehmet M, Gerberding O. Compact Multifringe Interferometry with Subpicometer Precision. Physical Review Applied. 2019 Sep 13;12(3). 034025. doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.12.034025

Trimeche A, Battelier B, Becker D, Bertoldi A, Bouyer P, Braxmaier C et al. Concept study and preliminary design of a cold atom interferometer for space gravity gradiometry. Classical and quantum gravity. 2019 Okt 10;36(21). 215004. doi.org/10.1088/1361-6382/ab4548

Involved QF Members
Members Institution Relevant Expertise
Vitali Müller, LeaderAEI/LUHLaser Interferometer modelling; LRI on GRACE-FO and for NGGM; Data Analysis
Gerhard HeinzelAEI/LUHSpace Laser Interferometry
Dietmar KrachtLZHAdvanced Light Sources; Precision Additive Manufacturing of Quantum Sensors; High power solid-state single frequency amplifiers
Jürgen MüllerLUHRelativistic Geodesy; LLR Relativity Test; Application of Quantum Gravimetry
Esteban DelgadoAEI/LUHSystem engineering and test engineering
Miguel DovaleAEI/LUHDFM, Prism-Optical Head modeling, optical readout design and testbed development
Christoph VorndammeAEI/LUHDFM, readout and control electronics
German Fernandez-BarrancoAEI/LUHPhotoreceiver
Kohei YamamotoAEI/LUHDFM, optical simulation, readout electronics and control electronics
Moritz MehmetAEI/LUHTorsion Balance
Gerald BergmannAEI/LUHReadout of Torsion Balance, Seismic Noise
Victor HuarcayaAEI/LUHTestbed development (Torsion Balance)
Guy ApelbaumAEI/LUHTestbed development (Torsion Balance)
Hao YanAEI/LUHEl.Static Sensor/Actuation, Torsion Balance noise budget
Malte MisfeldtAEI/LUHData analysis for GRACE-FO LRI
Laura MüllerAEI/LUHData analysis for GRACE-FO LRI
Henry WegenerAEI/LUHData analysis for GRACE-FO LRI, Tilt-To-Length Coupling
Karsten DanzmannAEI/LUHLISA, Gravitational Wave Astronomy
Annike KnabeLUHAttitude Control
Hu WuLUHNovel measurement concepts, Clocks
Alireza HosseiniAraniLUHHybdrid Accelerometers incl. Atom Interferometry
Matthias WeigeltLUHApplication of Gravity Data
Alexander KochDLR-SILaser Ranging Interferometers, Link Acquisition
Manuel SchillingDLR-SINovel Measurement Concepts
Meike ListDLR-SISpace Mission Simulator
Peter WeßelsLZHLaser Development
Benny RieversZARMSpace Mission Simulator
Jens GrosseZARMLaser Links
Florian WöskeZARMXHPS Space Mission Simulator