Detection of applied and ambient forces with a matter-wave magnetic gradiometer

Billy I. Robertson, Andrew R. MacKellar, James Halket, Anna Gribbon, Jonathan D. Pritchard, Aidan S. Arnold, Erling Riis, Paul F. Griffin

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An atom interferometer using a Bose–Einstein condensate of 87Rb atoms is utilized for the measurement of magnetic-field gradients. Composite optical pulses are used to construct a spatially symmetric Mach–Zehnder geometry. By using a biased interferometer we demonstrate the ability to measure small residual forces in our system and discriminate between magnetic and inertial effects. These are a residual ambient magnetic-field gradient of 15±2 mG/cm and an inertial acceleration of 0.08±0.02 m/s2. Our method has important applications in the calibration of precision measurement devices and the reduction of systematic errors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number053622
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
Early online date16 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017


  • magnetic-field gradients
  • inertial effects
  • magnetic effects


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