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The Bose-Einstein Condensate and Cold Atom Laboratory

K. Frye1, S. Abend1, W. Bartosch1, A. Bawamia2, D. Becker1, H. Blume3, C. Braxmaier4,5, S.-W. Chiow6, M.A. Efremov7,8, W. Ertmer1,9, P. Fierlinger10, T. Franz11, N. Gaaloul1, J. Grosse4,5, C. Grzeschik12, O. Hellmig13, V.A. Henderson2,12, W. Herr1,9, U. Israelsson6, J. Kohel6, M. Krutzik2,12, C. Kürbis2, C. Lämmerzahl4,14, M. List9,14, D. Lüdtke11, N. Lundblad15, J.P. Marburger16, M. Meister7, M. Mihm16, H. Müller17, H. Müntinga4,14, A.M. Nepal11, T. Oberschulte3, A. Papakonstantinou1, J. Perovšek4,5, A. Peters2,12, A. Prat11, E.M. Rasel1, A. Roura8, M. Sbroscia6, W.P. Schleich7,8,18, C. Schubert1,9, S.T. Seidel1,19, J. Sommer11, C. Spindeldreier3, D. Stamper-Kurn17, B.K. Stuhl20, M. Warner4,5, T. Wendrich1, A. Wenzlawski16, A. Wicht2, P. Windpassinger16, N. Yu6 and L. Wörner4,5

Published in:

EPJ Quantum Technol., vol. 8, no. 1, doi:10.1140/epjqt/s40507-020-00090-8 (2021).


Microgravity eases several constraints limiting experiments with ultracold and condensed atoms on ground. It enables extended times of flight without suspension and eliminates the gravitational sag for trapped atoms. These advantages motivated numerous initiatives to adapt and operate experimental setups on microgravity platforms. We describe the design of the payload, motivations for design choices, and capabilities of the Bose-Einstein Condensate and Cold Atom Laboratory (BECCAL), a NASA-DLR collaboration. BECCAL builds on the heritage of previous devices operated in microgravity, features rubidium and potassium, multiple options for magnetic and optical trapping, different methods for coherent manipulation, and will offer new perspectives for experiments on quantum optics, atom optics, and atom interferometry in the unique microgravity environment on board the International Space Station.

1 Institut für Quantenoptik, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Welfengarten 1, D-30167 Hannover, Germany
2 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Str. 4, D-12489 Berlin, Germany
3 Institut für Mikroelektronische Systeme, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Appelstraße 4, D-30167 Hannover, Germany
4 ZARM, Universität Bremen, Am Fallturm 2, D-28359 Bremen, Germany
5 German Aerospace Center for Space Systems, DLR-RY, Linzerstrasse 1, D-28359 Bremen, Germany
6 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA, 91109, USA
7 Institut für Quantenphysik and Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology (IQST), Universität Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-89069 Ulm, Germany
8 Institute of Quantum Technologies, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Söflinger Str. 100, D-89077 Ulm, Germany
9 Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensing, German Aerospace Center (DLR) c/o Leibniz Universität Hannover, Welfengarten 1, D-30167 Hannover, Germany
10 Fierlinger Magnetics GmbH, Rathausplatz 2, D-85748 Garching, Germany
11 Institute for Software Technology, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Lilienthalpl. 7, D-38108 Braunschweig, Germany
12 AG Optical Metrology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Newtonstraße 15, D-12489 Berlin, Germany
13 Institut für Laserphysik, Universität Hamburg, Luruper Chaussee 149, D-22761 Hamburg, Germany
14 Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensing, German Aerospace Center (DLR) c/o Universität Bremen, Am Fallturm 9, D-28359 Bremen, Germany
15 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bates College, Lewiston, ME, 04240, USA
16 Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Staudingerweg 7, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
17 Department of Physics, University of California, 366 LeConte HallMC 7300, Berkeley, CA, 94720-7300, USA
18 Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE), Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843-4242, USA
19 Airbus Defence and Space, Willy-Messerschmitt-Straße 1, D-82024 Taufkirchen, Germany
20 Space Dynamics Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM, 87106, USA


Bose-Einstein condensate; Quantum optics; Atom optics; Atom interferometry; Microgravity; International Space Station

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