Enhanced atomic co-magnetometry for inertial sensing

Lead Research Organisation: National Physical Laboratory
Department Name: Time Quantum & Electromagnetic Division


This project aims at advancing the field of Atomic Spin Gyroscopes (ASGs) towards the development of a commercial navigation grade device. ASGs exploit the Larmor precession of atomic spins in thermal vapours that contain a mixture of alkali-metal and noble gas atoms. Besides the potential for navigation grade performance, ASG benefit from a simple, robust hardware, which is ideal for miniaturisation.
The activities within this project aim at developing and testing new techniques which will lead to performances comparable to or better than the best state-of-the-art laboratory-based systems, but with a simplified, less sophisticated architecture, more suitable for the out-of-the-lab application, and commercialization of ASG targeting inertial navigation. On one side this will fill the current gap in the performances between laboratory based ASGs and the first industrial prototypes, on the other side it will bring closer to commercialization a platform still full of unexplored (quantum) potential, which has the capability to surpass existent technology (such as optical and MEMs gyros) both in terms of performance over integration level and of absolute performance.
The techniques we propose are based on the combined exploitation of stable spatial diffusion modes of the atomic gases, and methodologies developed, within our groups, for differential and self-adjusting operation. With a significant improvement of the short-term gyro sensitivity, long-term stability, and self-adjusting operation modes, we will specifically target the realization of robust gyros, compatible with apparatus miniaturization, and out-of-the-lab application in adverse environmental conditions.
This technology development ideally complements several ongoing UK efforts for the development of the atomic spin system instrumentation, performed in collaboration with commercial partners. The results of the project will be also of interest for the wider academic and industrial community working in atomic magnetometry, and quantum science.


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