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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Optical Metrology

Laser system development for atom interferometry on a sounding rocket (MAIUS)

O. Anton, S. Kanthak, K. Döringshoff, V. Schkolnik, M. Krutzik, and A. Peters

QUANTUS logo

The MAIUS projects aim to demonstrate the feasibility of quantum sensor operation in space by means of atom interferometry with Bose-Einstein condensates on sounding rockets. The double-staged rocket will bring our payloads to an elevation of about 250 km, where 6 minutes of microgravity time can be used to explore the advantages of a force-free environment for ultracold atom generation and coherent manipulation.

The MAIUS I/II/III missions are part of the QUANTUS collaboration (QUANTengase Unter Schwerelosigkeit), which is a national consortium led by University of Hannover and supported by the German Space Agency with funds of the BmWi.

MAIUS stands for Materiewelleninterferometrie unter Schwerelosigkeit.

MAIUS I

V. Schkolnik, M. Krutzik and A. Peters

Motivation

MAIUS logo

The first MAIUS mission is scheduled for launch in December 2016.
MAIUS I will produce the first BEC in space and demonstrate the first atom interferometer in space.

Introduction

MAIUS uses a 2D+/3D MOT assembly for high-flux loading of a compact and versatile atom chip trap. After RF evaporation, the BEC is released from the trap and exposed by magnetic fields to perform delta-kick collimation of the matter wave paket prior Bragg interferometry. The output port of a Mach-Zehnder-type sequence are detected by means of absorption imaging.

The MAIUS laser system

Our group has been responsible for the MAIUS laser system. Togehter with partners from Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik FBH, University Hamburg and University of Mainz, we succeeded in design, assembly and qualification of a compact and robust diode laser system for laser cooling and atominterferometry on a sounding rocket.

The laser system is based on eight micro-integrated DFB MOPA (Master oscillator power amplifier) modules provided by our partner group form the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik FBH.

MAIUS_LS_photo2
Photograph of the MAIUS laser system flight model.

MAIUS_LS_photo1
Photograph of the MAIUS laser system flight model with open cover.
The dimensions are 340 mm × 274 mm × 227 mm, and the total mass is 27 kg.

MAIUS_LS_Schema
Schematic of the MAIUS laser system. From [1]
Picture: Vladimir Schkolnik

References

Funding

This work is supported by the German Space Agency DLR with funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) under grant number DLR 50 WP  1237-1240, and 1345.



MAIUS II/III

O. Anton, S. Kanthak, K. Döringshoff, M. Krutzik and A. Peters

Motivation

The missions MAIUS II and MAIUS III will demonstrate sequential and simultaneous dual species atom interferometry with Rubidium and Potassium BECs in space.
By precisely comparing the trajectories of ultracold quantum objects composed of differently heavy speices (Rb87 and 41K) in extended free fall, dual species atom interferometers allow for unprecedented tests of the weak equivalence principle.


MAIUS_2_artist
Schematic of an atom interometry sequency in space.

Introduction

The MAIUS II/III experiment uses a 2D+/3D MOT for trapping and initial cooling of 87Rb and 41K atoms which will be cooled further down using optical molasses and optically pumped for loading into the atom chip trap. After the evaporation to a Bose–Einstein condensate, the BECs are released from the trap and atom interferometry is performed by a sequence of Raman pulses.

The laser system for the MAIUS II/III mission

The laser system for the MAIUS mission is designed, assembled and tested in our group. The laser system is based on ten micro-integrated ECDL MOPA (Master oscillator power amplifier) modules provided by our partner group form the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik FBH. The laser system includes two master laser for Rb and K at 780 nm and 767 nm, respectively, three additional laser at 780 nm and four additional laser at 767 nm and one laser at 1064 nm which is used for an optical dipole trap.

Switching and distribution of the light is implemented using optical benches made from Zerodur realized at JGU Mainz and fiber optical components.

MAIUS_LS_render
CAD rendering of the MAIUS B laser system.
Picture: K. Döringshoff

MAIUS_LS
Photograph of the housing of the MAIUS B laser system.
The height and diameter of the laser system are 320 mm and 400 mm.
Foto: K. Döringshoff

Funding

This work is supported by the German Space Agency DLR with funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) under grant number DLR 50 WP 1432.