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Quantum Clocks in Atom Interferometry
February 28, 202012:00 pm – 1:00 pm (CDT)

Quantum Clocks in Atom Interferometry


Enno Giese (Ulm University, Germany)



Mitchell Physics Building

College Station, Texas 77843-4242

Event Details

Light-pulse atom interferometry has become an excellent tool for high-precision quantum metrology as well as a testbed for the interface of relativity and quantum mechanics. On the other hand, quantum systems in the form of atomic clocks are routinely employed in tests of special and general relativity. The combination of atom interferometry and atomic clocks in terms of quantum-clock interferometry [1,2,3] is a promising candidate for the investigation of special and general relativistic effects with and on quantum objects.

Proper time determines the phase of matter waves, such that atom interferometers are in principle susceptible to time dilation. In this presentation we discuss under which conditions proper-time differences have an impact on the measured interference pattern. We show which type of light-pulse atom interferometers, performed with a single internal atomic state, are sensitive to time dilation and find only geometries that entail the special-relativistic twin paradox, whereas gravitational effects do not contribute in lowest order. We propose a specific geometry for a quantum clock experiment that constitutes a genuine implementation of such a twin paradox [3]. With these insights, we are able to refute the suspected sensitivity of quantum clocks [1] to the gravitational redshift if no internal transitions are driven during the interferometer sequence [4].

[1] M. Zych, F. Costa, I. Pikovski, and C. Brukner, Nat. Commun. 2, 505 (2011)
[2] A. Roura, arXiv 1810.06744 (2018)
[3] S. Loriani et al, Sci. Adv. 5, eaax8966 (2019)
[4] Ch. Ufrecht et al, arXiv 2001.09754 (2020)

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