Pushing the limits of atom interferometry...The system we want to realize is a Mach-Zender spatial interferometer operating with trapped Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs). Phase diffusion caused by interatomic collisions are suppressed implementing BECs with tunable interactions in ultra-stable optical potentials. Entangled states can be used to improve the sensitivity of the sensor beyond the standard quantum limit to ideally reach the ultimate, Heisenberg, limit set by quantum mechanics. Our project aims at developing a sensor with unprecedented spatial resolution able to compete with, and eventually overcome, state-of-the-art interferometers with cold (non condensed) atomic waves.

A novel lattice with arbitrary large spatial periodicity has been invented

We report the experimental realization of a new kind of optical lattice for ultra-cold atoms where arbitrarily large separation between the sites can be achieved without renouncing to the stability of ordinary lattices. Two collinear lasers, with slightly different commensurate wavelengths and retrorefected on a mirror, generate a superlattice potential with a periodic \beat-note" profile where the regions with large amplitude modulation provide the effective potential minima for the atoms. To prove the analogy with a standard large spacing optical lattice we study Bloch oscillations of a Bose Einstein condensate with negligible interactions in the presence of a small force. The observed dynamics between sites separated by ten microns for times exceeding one second proves the high stability of the potential. This novel lattice is the ideal candidate for the coherent manipulation of atomic samples at large spatial separations and might find direct application in atom-based technologies like trapped atom interferometers and quantum simulators.

L. Masi, et al.,
Spatial Bloch Oscillations of a Quantum Gas in a “Beat-Note” Superlattice
Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 020601 (2021)

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