Europhys. Lett.
Volume 71, Number 5, September 2005
Page(s) 730 - 736
Section Atomic and molecular physics
Published online 05 August 2005
Europhys. Lett., 71 (5), pp. 730-736 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10163-6

A promising method for the measurement of the local acceleration of gravity using Bloch oscillations of ultracold atoms in a vertical standing wave

P. Cladé1, S. Guellati-Khélifa2, C. Schwob1, F. Nez1, L. Julien1 and F. Biraben1

1  Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel, École Normale Supérieure, CNRS, UPMC 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
2  CNAM-INM, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers 292 rue Saint Martin, 75141 Paris Cedex 03, France

received 17 March 2005; accepted in final form 11 July 2005
published online 5 August 2005

An obvious determination of the local acceleration of gravity g can be deduced from the measurement of the velocity of falling atoms using a $\pi$-$\pi$ pulses sequence of stimulated Raman transitions. By using a vertical standing wave to hold atoms against gravity, we expect to improve the relative accuracy by increasing the upholding time in the gravity field and to minimize the systematic errors induced by inhomogeneous fields, owing to the very small spatial amplitude of the atomic center-of-mass wavepacket periodic motion. We also propose to use such an experimental setup nearby a Watt balance. By exploiting the g/h (h is the Planck constant) dependence of the Bloch frequency, this should provide a way to link a macroscopic mass to an atomic mass.

32.80.Pj - Optical cooling of atoms; trapping.
42.50.Vk - Mechanical effects of light on atoms, molecules, electrons, and ions.
04.80.-y - Experimental studies of gravity.

© EDP Sciences 2005