25 Octobre – Thesis defense - Chen-Hao Feng

15 h Visio

Development of a 88Sr atom interferometer.

Atom interferometry is a maturing quantum technology which provides one of the most precise approaches to explore fundamental physics, e.g. to search for dark matter, and one day to observe gravitational waves in the frequency range from 10 mHz - 10 Hz. Standard atom interferometers use Bragg or Raman two-photon transitions for the coherent manipulation of matter waves. In a Michelson configuration for atom-aided gravitational waves detection, two orthogonal arms are built to reject laser noise, in the same way as optical interferometers. Atom interferometers utilizing an optical clock transition for coherent manipulation are less affected by the technical noise of the laser, and as a result that single baseline detectors become feasible.
At LP2N, we are building a vertical gravity-gradiometer based on atom interferometry using strontium atoms probed on such a clock transition. The final experimental setup will implement a  6-meter tall atomic fountain to realize gradiometry with two or more separated atomic clouds.
In my dissertation, I present the realization of the experimental setup in all its sub-systems, and the first experiments with atoms at millikelvin temperature obtained with the first cooling stage with blue light. The laser system for the second red cooling phase and for the coherent manipulation is ready; meanwhile, we realized a dual-frequency Zeeman slower that improves the atomic flux by a factor of six.  We also present a study of an original scheme to achieve pulsed and fast light-atom interaction in a narrow-linewidth cavity by exploiting the Stark shift as a high bandwidth switch; this technique could open to the use of narrow-linewidth cavities – and notably their high power buildup - in several contexts, like atom interferometry and quantum information.

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