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Title: Building a sensitive atom interferometer for navigation
Author: Cheng, Xiaxi
ISNI:       0000 0004 9350 9876
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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The presented thesis describes the setting up of an inertial sensitive atom interferometer for navigation using Rubidium 87 atoms, which is able to perform horizontal acceleration measurement. An ultra-high vacuum interferometer chamber is designed and built. The cold atoms are prepared in a compact 2D MOT setup and loaded into the main MOT. These atoms are then cooled down to few K and prepared in a magnetically insensitive ground state using a sequence of optical and microwave pulses, after which atoms are selected in a narrow band of the velocity. A three-pulse Mach-Zehnder ( pi/2 -pi-pi/2) interferometer using stimulated Raman transitions is used to measure the horizontal acceleration. To improve the sensitivity to acceleration, the fringe contrast of the interferometer requires to be optimised. By investigating the intensity profile of the Raman beams using atoms, a procedure is developed to operate the interferometer in an improved condition, which is able to enhance the fringe contrast by a factor of 3. This procedure improves the shot-to-shot sensitivity of the interferometer below 5 um/s^2. In addition, the atom interferometer is compared with a classical state-of-the-art accelerometer.
Supervisor: Hinds, Ed Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral