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Cold Atoms and Atom interferometry in Space

Quantum sensor technology exploits the quantum nature of light and atoms to achieve unprecedented measurement sensitivity and accuracy for fields, forces, and waves. One example is atomic quantum sensors for inertial force measurements that utilize particle-wave duality of atomic particles and quantum gases with matter-wave interferometry similar to optical interferometry. Recent developments of laser control and manipulation of atoms have led to atom interferometer devices demonstrating beyond the state of the art performances for accelerometer, gyroscope, and gravity measurements. Microgravity environment in space provides opportunities for further drastic improvements in sensitivity and precision. Our group has been pursuing atom interferometers for applications in space. Currently, we are developing a transportable atom interferometer gravity gradiometer with the goal of applying it to earth and planetary gravity measurements.