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Physics Colloquium

Date: Thursday, February 13, 2020

Speaker: Jason Hogan, Stanford University

Title: Atom interferometry for fundamental physics and gravitational wave detection

Abstract: In recent years, atom interferometry and atomic clocks have made impressive gains in sensitivity and time precision.  The best atomic clocks have stability corresponding to a loss of less than one second in the lifetime of the universe.  Matter wave interferometers have achieved record-breaking coherence times (seconds) and atomic wavepacket separations (over half a meter), resulting in a significant enhancement in accelerometer and gravity gradiometer sensitivity.  Leveraging these advances, atomic sensors are now poised to become a powerful tool for discovery in fundamental physics.  I will describe a new type of atom interferometry based on narrow-line optical transitions that combines inertial sensitivity with features from the best atomic clocks, allowing for increased immunity to technical noise and systematic errors.  This technique is central to the Mid-band Atomic Gravitational wave Interferometric Sensor (MAGIS) proposal, which is targeted to detect gravitational waves in a frequency band complementary to existing detectors (0.03 Hz – 10 Hz), the optimal frequency range to support multi-messenger astronomy.  I will also discuss MAGIS-100, a 100-meter tall atomic sensor now being constructed at Fermilab that will serve as a prototype of such a gravitational wave detector, and that will be sensitive to proposed ultra-light dark matter (scalar and vector couplings) at unprecedented levels.

Host: David Wineland

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