Inertial sensors based on cold atom interferometry exhibit many interesting features for applications related to inertial navigation, particularly in terms of sensitivity and long-term stability. However, at present the typical atom interferometer is still very much an experiment—consisting of a bulky, static apparatus with a limited dynamic range and high sensitivity to environmental eﬀects. To be compliant with mobile applications further development is needed. In this work, we present a compact and mobile experiment, which we recently used to achieve the ﬁrst inertial measurements with an atomic accelerometer onboard an aircraft. By integrating classical inertial sensors into our apparatus, we are able to operate the atomic sensor well beyond its standard operating range, corresponding to half of an interference fringe. We report atom-based acceleration measurements along both the horizontal and vertical axes of the aircraft with one-shot sensitivities of 2.3 × 10−4 g over a range of ∼ 0.1 g. The same technology can be used to develop cold-atom gyroscopes, which could surpass the best optical gyroscopes in terms of long-term sensitivity. Our apparatus was also designed to study multi-axis atom interferometry with the goal of realizing a full inertial measurement unit comprised of the three axes of acceleration and rotation. Finally, we present a compact and tunable laser system, which constitutes an essential part of any cold-atom-based sensor. The architecture of the laser is based on phase modulating a single ﬁber-optic laser diode, and can be tuned over a range of 1 GHz in less than 200 μs.
B. Battelier, B. Barrett, L. Fouché, L. Chichet, L. Antoni-Micollier, H. Porte, F. Napolitano, J. Lautier, A. Landragin, and P. Bouyer, "Development of compact cold-atom sensors for inertial navigation," Proc. SPIE 9900, Quantum Optics, 990004 (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 05, 2016; Published: 29 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2228351.
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