Precision atomic gravimeter based on Bragg diffraction


We present a precision gravimeter based on coherent Bragg diffraction of freely falling cold atoms. Traditionally, atomic gravimeters have used stimulated Raman transitions to separate clouds in momentum space by driving transitions between two internal atomic states. Bragg interferometers utilize only a single internal state, and can therefore be less susceptible to environmental perturbations. Here we show that atoms extracted from a magneto-optical trap using an accelerating optical lattice are a suitable source for a Bragg atom interferometer, allowing efficient beamsplitting and subsequent separation of momentum states for detection. Despite the inherently multi-state nature of atom diffraction, we are able to build a Mach–Zehnder interferometer using Bragg scattering which achieves a sensitivity to the gravitational acceleration of Δg/g = 2.7 × 10−9 with an integration time of 1000 s. The device can also be converted to a gravity gradiometer by a simple modification of the light pulse sequence.

New Journal of Physics, (15), 2, pp. 023009,