Skip to Content

Atom Interferometry: from Navigation to Cosmology

Professor Ed Hinds

Centre for Cold Matter, Imperial College, London

12:30 pm Wednesday, 1 April 2015, VR Theatre, Hawthorn


Atom interferometry provides an exceptionally sensitive way to measure small forces acting on atoms. One application is to navigate by measuring the inertial forces on freely-falling atoms and integrating twice to determine position. This is of interest for submarines, which would prefer not to communicate with the global navigation satellite system.  Another is to detect the modification of gravity that could be associated with dark energy in scenarios such as the chameleon. It is striking that such measurement have the potential to probe physics close to the Planck energy.

I will describe how an atom interferometer works, and will give details about these applications, including new limits on the coupling constants of chameleon theory.