PhD in Atomic, molecular, and optical physics(M/F): Evaluation of functionalized optical subassemblies for atom interferometry and inertial sensors

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    Observatoire de Paris
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/05/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Paris


This PhD thesis targets the realization of multifunction/multi-axis cold atom inertial sensors designed for inertial navigation. The physics package of these instruments is an atom chip, a device that offers a high integration potential for practical applications. Thus, to make embedded applications possible with a chip, we will work on the design, realization and qualification of compact optical benches. Indeed, the current benches are compatible with laboratory experiments and significant efforts are currently carried on to make them transportable.

The topics covered in this thesis proposal are the following:

- design and manufacturing of optical benches in close collaboration with industrial partners.

- implementation of optical benches on the experiment and verification of their proper operation using atoms.

- demonstration of non-destructive measurement techniques aiming at reducing the dead-time in atom interferometers.

Thus, within this thesis work we will try to make compact essential elements of a cold atom inertial sensor. These elements are the light sources to realize the beam splitter and mirror pulses; the multiplexing of Bragg and Raman pulses for the choice of the atom interferometer to be set up. Indeed, the realization of a sensor with trapped or magnetically guided atoms requires Bragg pulses in order to keep the atoms in a trapped state. On the other hand, Raman transitions are also useful in order to obtain an atomic source with a high degree of coherence.

This PhD thesis proposal combines an experimental part focused on the transportability of a cold atom sensor, and a more modular part, both experimental and theoretical, leaving room for both innovative physics and the realization of a multifunction/multi-axis sensor in view of its practical application to inertial navigation.

The scientific core of this project is the study and realization of coherent matter wave beam splitters with compact optical assemblies, ultra-precise and compatible with extreme environments. To achieve this goal we will work with industrial experts in high-precision optics. Another important aspect that we will explore is the reduction of the death time of a cold atom sensor. Indeed, any cold atom interferometer needs an atom cooling time of more than a few hundred milliseconds. Therefore, any inertial measurement is affected by this dead time which is detrimental to the stability of the sensor. We will therefore study solutions for the realization of nondestructive measurements that will allow to make several interferometric measurements with the same cold atom cloud.


This study, which will have several innovative aspects, will aim at a possible industrial transfer of the technology of these optical benches. Large-area cold atom rotation sensors have already been demonstrated and, in particular, the state of the art in terms of sensitivity of such devices has been demonstrated by our team [1]. However, these sensors are not well suited for applications such as inertial navigation. The innovative character of this thesis is to address precisely the fundamental and practical issues in the development of a compact rotation sensor with cold atoms guided on a chip [2]. The main objective being the demonstration of functionalities needed for the realization of a compact on-chip atom interferometer and the exploration of ways to realize a sensor with a large dynamic range. In this sense, the theses already carried out on this topic in our team have allowed us to identify promising solutions. Thus a study on the design of magnetic guides has been published in Phys. Rev A [3].


The realization of this thesis over the three years is organized on the following form: -

-1st year: Tests and validation of the manufactured optical assemblies. Optimization of the cooling steps with the new benches. Bibliographical study of different inertial measurement protocols with guided cold atoms.

-2nd year: Study of multifunctional cold atom interferometers with the built benches.

-3rd year: Exploration of the reduction of the sensor dead time through nondestructive measurements.

Supervision and insertion in the team: Doctoral thesis project within the framework of a research project. Individual work: Bibliographical research on the subject of the thesis, modeling of experiments at different levels of complexity, taking the responsibility for the realization of specific tasks of the thesis project, and necessary for the progress of the research project in which the candidate is involved. Team work: Design, implementation and realization of experiments, data processing, report writing. Training: Participation in doctoral schools, seminars, courses and conferences. Follow-up: Weekly meetings with the thesis director.


[1]-Continuous Cold-Atom Inertial Sensor with 1 nrad/sec Rotation Stability, I. Dutta, D. Savoie, B. Fang, B. Venon, C. L. Garrido Alzar, R. Geiger, and A. Landragin. Phys. Rev. Lett.116, 183003 (2016).

[2]-Compact chip-scale guided cold atom gyrometers for inertial navigation : Enabling technologies and design study, C. L. Garrido Alzar. AVS Quantum Sci. 1, 014702 (2019).

[3]- Stability analysis of a magnetic waveguide with self-generated offset field, C. L. Garrido Alzar. Phys. Rev. A 97, 033405 (2018).


More Information

Eligibility criteria

EU citizens only

Offer Requirements

    Physics: Master Degree or equivalent


We are looking for outstanding candidates, preferably with experience in any of the following fields : cold atoms ; atom chips ; quantum optics ; quantum information. Fluent in English, knowledge of French would be an asset. Used to autonomous work as well as part of a team, with analytical and interdisciplinary thinking.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Observatoire de Paris
61, av de l'Observatoire

EURAXESS offer ID: 606063


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