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A Dual-Species Atom Interferometer Payload for Operation on Sounding Rockets

M. Elsen1, B. Piest2, F. Adam3, O. Anton4, P. Arciszewski4, W. Bartosch2, D. Becker2, K. Bleeke5, J. Böhm2, S. Boles6, K. Döringshoff4, P. Guggilam2, O. Hellmig11, I. Imwalle2, S. Kanthak4, C. Kürbis10, M. Koch2, M.D. Lachmann2, M. Mihm6, H. Müntinga3, A.M. Nepal5, T. Oberschulte7, P. Ohr5, A. Papakonstantinou2, A. Prat5, C. Reichelt2, J. Sommer5, C. Spindeldreier7, M. Warner1, T. Wendrich2, A. Wenzlawski6, H. Blume7, C. Braxmaier8,9, D. Lüdtke5, A. Peters4, E.M. Rasel2, K. Sengstock11, A. Wicht10, P. Windpassinger6, J. Grosse1

Published in:

Microgravity Sci. Technol., vol. 35, no. 5, art. 48, doi:10.1007/s12217-023-10068-7 (2023).


We report on the design and the construction of a sounding rocket payload capable of performing atom interferometry with Bose-Einstein condensates of 41K and 87Rb. The apparatus is designed to be launched in two consecutive missions with a VSB-30 sounding rocket and is qualified to withstand the expected vibrational loads of 1.8 g root-mean-square in a frequency range between 20–2000 Hz and the expected static loads during ascent and re-entry of 25 g. We present a modular design of the scientific payload comprising a physics package, a laser system, an electronics system and a battery module. A dedicated on-board software provides a largely automated process of predefined experiments. To operate the payload safely in laboratory and flight mode, a thermal control system and ground support equipment has been implemented and will be presented. The payload presented here represents a cornerstone for future applications of matter wave interferometry with ultracold atoms on satellites.

1 Zentrum für angewandte Raumfahrttechnologie und Mikrogravitation, Universität Bremen, Am Fallturm, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2 Institut für Quantenoptik, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Welfengarten 1, 30167 Hannover, Germany
3 Institut für Satellitengeodäsie und Inertialsensorik, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt e.V., Callinstr. 30b, 30167 Hannover, Germany
4 Institut für Physik, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Newtonstraße 15, 12489 Berlin, Germany
5 Institut für Softwaretechnologie, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig, Germany
6 Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
7 Institut für Mikroelektronische Systeme, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Appelstraße 4, 30167 Hannover, Germany
8 Institut für Mikroelektronik, Universität Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 43, 89081 Ulm, Germany
9 Institut für Quantentechnologie, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., Wilhelm-Runge-Str. 10, 89081 Ulm, Germany
10 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Str. 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany
11 Institute of Laser-Physics, University Hamburg, Luruper Chaussee 149, 22761 Hamburg, Germany


Bose-Einstein condensate, Quantum optics, Atom optics, Atom interferometry, Microgravity, Sounding rocket

© The Author(s) 2023
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