We would like to invite you to participate in an informal workshop on:

2nd Terrestrial Very-Long-Baseline Atom Interferometry

The workshop will take place from April 3rd to 5th, 2024, at Imperial College London, UK.

You can find more details on the workshop’s web page: : https://indico.cern.ch/event/1369392/

If you are interested in attending this event in person, please register before March 1st, 2024, at: https://indico.cern.ch/event/1369392/registrations/

The event will be in a hybrid format, allowing for both in-person and remote participation via Zoom. In addition to plenary and parallel sessions, it will also feature a poster session, open to everyone but especially targeting PhD students and early career researchers. 

We are pleased to announce that we have secured funding for PhD students to participate in our dedicated poster session. The support for selected PhD students will amount to approximately £250 in compensation. Interested candidates can apply for Poster Session support through the registration link provided above.

Further information about the workshop is provided below.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to London soon!

Best regards, 

The Workshop Organisers

Workshop Scope:  

The 2nd Terrestrial Very-Long-Baseline Atom Interferometry (TVLBAI) workshop in London follows the successful TVLBAI workshop hosted at CERN in March 2023 [A] and its comprehensive Workshop Summary that has now been accepted for publication in the AVS journal [B].

This upcoming workshop will convene experts from around the world to explore the exciting advancements in large-scale atom interferometer prototypes and their potential applications in detecting ultralight dark matter and gravitational waves.

The primary objectives of the workshop are to discuss the technology and physics drivers for large-scale Atom Interferometry as well as to establish the foundation for an international TVLBAI proto-collaboration. This proto-collaborative effort aims to bring together researchers from diverse institutions, fostering strategic discussions and securing funding for terrestrial large-scale Atom Interferometer projects. The goal is to develop a comprehensive roadmap outlining design choices, technological considerations, and science drivers for one or more kilometer-scale detectors, expected to become operational in the mid-2030s. 

Key activities during the workshop will include reviewing advancements since previous meetings and dedicating time to the formalization of the proto-collaboration, clarifying roles and responsibilities, forging effective communication strategies, and coordinating efforts across the board. These processes are vital for the advancement of future large-scale Atom Interferometry initiatives.

 Participants will also engage in focused working sessions with the aim of creating a forthcoming comprehensive roadmap. This guiding document will delineate strategic design and technology considerations, set clear timelines, and identify crucial milestones essential for the successful and timely deployment of kilometer-scale detectors, marking the initiation of work towards its realisation.

 Moreover, the workshop will cultivate a sense of community among participants, building a supportive network of both experts and enthusiasts eager to push the boundaries of Atom Interferometry for ground-breaking scientific discoveries. This communal support is fundamental to the momentum and success of subsequent collective endeavours.

[A]  https://indico.cern.ch/event/1208783/
[B] Abend, Sven, et al.
(2023). “Terrestrial Very-Long-Baseline Atom Interferometry: Workshop Summary.” [arXiv:2310.08183]. https://arxiv.org/abs/2310.08183

International Organisation Committee:

Gianluigi Arduini, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Kai Bongs, DLR Institute for Quantum Technologies, Germany
Philippe Bouyer, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Oliver Buchmueller, Imperial College London, UK
Sergio Calatroni, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Benjamin Canuel, CNRS, Institut d’Optique, France
Marilù Chiofalo, University of Pisa and INFN Pisa, Italy
Michael Doser, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
John Ellis, King’s College London, UK
Naceur Gaaloul, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
Jason Hogan, Stanford University, US
Peter Knight, Imperial College London, UK
Timothy Kovachy, Northwestern University, US
Ernst Rasel, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
Ian Shipsey, Oxford University, UK
Guglielmo Tino, Università di Firenze and LENS, Italy
Wolf von Klitzing, IESL-FORTH, Greece
Mingsheng Zhan, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics, China

Local Organisation Committee:

Charles Baynham, Imperial College London, UK
Oliver Buchmueller, Imperial College London, UK
John Ellis, King’s College London, UK
Richard Hobson, Imperial College London, UK
Adam Lowe, Oxford University, UK
Christopher McCabe, King’s College London
Sean Paling, Boulby Underground Laboratory, UK
Ulrich Schneider, Cambridge University, UK
Dennis Schlippert, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
Maurits van der Grinten, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK


  Additional Information: 

Atom Interferometry (AI) is a well-established quantum sensor concept based on the superposition and interference of atomic wave packets, which affords exceptionally high sensitivity, e.g., to inertial/gravitational effects. AI experimental designs take advantage of features used by state-of-the-art atomic clocks in combination with established techniques for building inertial sensors. 

The experimental landscape of AI projects has expanded significantly in recent years, ranging from ultra-sensitive experimental setups to portable devices and even commercially available gravimeters. Several large-scale terrestrial AIs based on Cold Atom technologies are currently under construction, in planning stages or being proposed. 

Five large-scale fully funded prototype projects are currently under construction, namely AION-10 at Oxford with possible 100m sites at Boulby in the UK and at CERN under investigation, a 10m fountain at Stanford & MAGIS-100 at FNAL in the US, MIGA in France, VLBAI at Hannover in Germany and a 10m fountain & ZAIGA in China [1-7]. These will demonstrate the feasibility of AI at macroscopic scales, paving the way for terrestrial km-scale experiments as the next steps.

There are proposals to build one or more km-scale detectors, including AION-km at the STFC Boulby facility in the UK [1], MAGIA-advanced and ELGAR in Europe [8], MAGIS-km at the Sanford Underground Research facility (SURF) in the US [2], and advanced ZAIGA in China [4].  

The goal is that by about 2035 at least one km-scale detector will have entered operation. These km-scale experiments would not only be able to explore systematically the mid-frequency band of gravitational waves and probe possible ultralight dark matter but would also demonstrate the readiness of key technologies ahead of a space-based AI mission such as AEDGE [9]. 

The TVLBAI activity unites the cold atom, astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics communities, building upon the Community Workshop on Cold Atoms in Space held in September 2021 [10]. This prior workshop reviewed the cold atom experiment landscape for space and established a corresponding roadmap for cold atoms in space [11]. 

[1] L. Badurina et al., AION: An Atom Interferometer Observatory and NetworkJCAP 05 (2020) 011, [arXiv:1911.11755] 

[2] Susannah M. Dickerson et al, Multiaxis Inertial Sensing with Long-Time Point Source Atom Interferometry, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 083001 (2013), [arXiv:1305.1700]

[3] M. Abe et al., Matter-wave Atomic Gradiometer Interferometric Sensor (MAGIS-100)Quantum Sci. Technol. 6 (2021) 4, 044003, [arXiv:2104.02835]. 

[4] B. Canuel et al., Exploring gravity with the MIGA large scale atom interferometerSci. Rep. 8 (2018), no. 1 14064, [arXiv:1703.02490]. 

[5] D. Schlippert et al,” Matter Wave Interferometry for Inertial Sensing and Tests of Fundamental Physics”, Presented at the Eighth Meeting on CPT and Lorentz Symmetry, Bloomington, Indiana, May 12-16, 2019 (2020), [arXiv:1909.08524]

[6] L. Zhou, Y. Xiong et al. Development of an atom gravimeter and status of the 10-meter atom interferometer for precision gravity measurement. Gen Relativity & Gravitation 43, 1931–1942 (2011).  

[7] M.-S. Zhan et al., ZAIGA: Zhaoshan Long-baseline Atom Interferometer Gravitation AntennaInt. J. Mod. Phys. D28 (2019) 1940005, [arXiv:1903.09288]. 

[8] B. Canuel et al., ELGAR—a European Laboratory for Gravitation and Atom-interferometric 

ResearchClass. Quant. Grav. 37 (2020), no. 22 225017, [arXiv:1911.03701]. 

[9]  Y. A. El-Neaj et al., “AEDGE: Atomic Experiment for Dark Matter and Gravity Exploration in Space,” [arXiv:1908.00802].

[10] https://indico.cern.ch/event/1064855/

[11] I. Alonso et al., Cold Atoms in Space: Community Workshop Summary and Proposed Road-Map (2022) [arXiv:2201.07789].


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