Microgravity facilities for cold atom experiments

authored by
Matthias Raudonis, Albert Roura, Matthias Meister, Christoph Lotz, Ludger Overmeyer, Sven Herrmann, Andreas Gierse, Claus Lämmerzahl, Nicholas P. Bigelow, Maike Lachmann, Baptist Piest, Naceur Gaaloul, Ernst M. Rasel, Christian Schubert, Waldemar Herr, Christian Deppner, Holger Ahlers, Wolfgang Ertmer, Jason R Williams, Nathan Lundblad, Lisa Wörner

Microgravity platforms enable cold atom research beyond experiments in typical laboratories by removing restrictions due to the gravitational acceleration or compensation techniques. While research in space allows for undisturbed experimentation, technological readiness, availability and accessibility present challenges for experimental operation. In this work we focus on the main capabilities and unique features of ground-based microgravity facilities for cold atom research. A selection of current and future scientific opportunities and their high demands on the microgravity environment are presented, and some relevant ground-based facilities are discussed and compared. Specifically, we point out the applicable free fall times, repetition rates, stability and payload capabilities, as well as programmatic and operational aspects of these facilities. These are contrasted with the requirements of various cold atom experiments. Besides being an accelerator for technology development, ground-based microgravity facilities allow fundamental and applied research with the additional benefit of enabling hands-on access to the experiment for modifications and adjustments.

Institute of Transport and Automation Technology
Institute of Quantum Optics
External Organisation(s)
University of Bremen
University of Rochester
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Bates College
DLR-Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensing
DLR-Institute of Quantum Technologies
Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM)
Quantum Science and Technology
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics, Materials Science (miscellaneous), Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous), Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.1088/2058-9565/ace1a3 (Access: Open)