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Tools for designing atom interferometers in a microgravity environment

TitleTools for designing atom interferometers in a microgravity environment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsE. Ashwood, E. Wesley Wells, D. Murat Kurkcuoglu, R. Colson Sapp, C. W. Clark, and M. Edwards
JournalPhys. Rev. A
Date PublishedAPR 15
Type of ArticleArticle

We present a variational model suitable for rapid preliminary design of atom interferometers in a microgravity environment. The model approximates the solution of the three-dimensional rotating-frame Gross-Pitaevskii equation as the sum of N-c Gaussian clouds. Each Gaussian cloud is assumed to have time-dependent center positions, widths, and linear and quadratic phase parameters. We applied the Lagrangian variational method (LVM) with this trial wave function to derive equations of motion for these parameters that can be adapted to any external potential. We also present a one-dimensional (1D) version of this variational model. As an example we apply the model to a 1D atom interferometry scheme for measuring Newton's gravitational constant, G, in a microgravity environment. We show how the LVM model can (1) constrain the experimental parameter space size, (2) show how the value of G can be obtained from the experimental conditions and interference pattern characteristics, and (3) show how to improve the sensitivity of the measurement and construct a preliminary error budget.