Lattice atom interferometry in an optical cavity
- Author(s): Xu, Victoria Ann
- Advisor(s): Müller, Holger
- et al.
Atom interferometers are powerful tools for both measurements in fundamental physics and inertial sensing applications. Their performance, however, has been limited by the available interrogation time of freely falling atoms in a gravitational field. In this thesis, we realize an unprecedented interrogation time of 20 seconds by suspending the spatially separated atomic wavepackets in the resonant lattice of an optical cavity. Unlike traditional atom interferometers, our approach allows gravitational potentials to be measured by holding, rather than dropping, atoms. After seconds of hold time, gravitational potential energy differences from as little as microns of vertical separation generate megaradians of interferometer phase. This trapped geometry suppresses the phase variance due to vibrations by three to four orders of magnitude, overcoming the dominant noise source in atom-interferometric gravimeters.