Quantum interferometry for accurate measurements

Yoav Sagi | Physics


Physics and Electro-Optics

The Technology

Force detection plays a crucial role in various applications, including surface characterization, gravitational and geological mapping, and acceleration and rotation sensing. Among the methods available, atomic interferometry stands out as one of the most sensitive techniques for detecting force.

Atomic interferometers function by creating a quantum superposition of two atomic wave packets, each following distinct paths, and then allowing them to interfere. The resulting interference pattern reveals the relative phase shift accumulated during the motion, which directly corresponds to the physical quantity being measured, such as the force.

However, current atomic interferometry methods are based on geodesic atomic motion or free-fall, which limits their flexibility and necessitates large system sizes to achieve long probing durations. For instance, state-of-the-art experiments employ a 10m high tube to allow for 2 seconds of probing, making miniaturization and field compatibility challenging. A known method to measure inertia uses standard silicon technology. Though these devices are small, they are much less accurate than atomic interferometry. A promising solution to address these limitations is the implementation of optical tweezers. By using optical tweezers, individual atoms can be trapped and manipulated to create coherent atomic splits and recombinations. Moreover, this technique enables holding the atomic wave packets for extended periods, up to tens of seconds, with sub-micrometer precision and the freedom to shape the atomic trajectory. To ensure robustness against experimental imperfections, atomic splitters and combiners are employed, carefully designed not to alter the internal state of the atom.

In addition to these advancements, the use of fermionic atoms and leveraging their Fermi-Dirac statistics offer significant benefits. This approach allows conducting measurements with a controlled number of atoms in a single run, ranging from a few tens to a hundred, while mitigating systematic interaction energy shifts. The unique combination of optical tweezers, robust atomic splitters and combiners, and fermionic atom utilization provides the opportunity for high-precision force measurements with sub-micrometer resolution. Furthermore, this approach opens doors for potential miniaturization and field compatibility, making the instrument more accessible for various practical applications.


  • Compact atomic interferometry device
  • High sensitivity
  • Sub micrometer position accuracy
  • Long probing time

Applications and Opportunities

  • Measure force with unprecedented sensitivity and spatial resolution to map gravitational field to detect subterrain structures and anomalies (tunnels, deposits, etc.)
  • Measure acceleration and rotation on a relatively – inertial sensing
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Shikma Litmanovitz
Director of Business Development, Physical Science