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Baptiste BATTELIER HDR defense

Baptiste defended his "habilitation a diriger des recherches" on Friday, February 19th 2021. Unfortunately it was fully virtual, but a remake in real life will be planned as soon as possible!



Light Manipulation of matter is at heart of atom physics and atom interferometry and the evolution in this field is strongly related to the technology development of lasers and light engineering, both in laboratory and for onboard applications. To illustrate this strong relationship between technology development and the continuous improvement in atomic physics, I will present my work with a special focus on all optical methods to cool and trap the atoms and interrogate them to perform an atom interferometer.

The first objective of my research activities is to extend as far as possible the performances of cold atoms inertial sensors. I will focus on the use of cold atom interferometers to probe the frontier of General Relativity and Quantum mechanics. Indeed, it is particularly relevant to test the weak equivalence principle with quantum particles such as two atom species (Rb and K) of different masses and following the same trajectory, within the fundamental limit of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. For this purpose, it is necessary to produce ultra-cold atom sources in microgravity to prepare future Space missions where the inertial environment will be clean enough to perform an unperturbed measurement of the acceleration due to gravity.

The second part of my work aims to improve the technology of quantum inertial sensors. Bulky and unstable experiments built 15 years ago have moved on to products on the market and reliable experiments achieving parabolic flights on board a plane. In relation with several companies, I led specific technical developments of fibred laser systems, a compact cold atom gravimeter and a multi-axis atom accelerometer. Through the development of these instruments, we also faced the issues of embarquability and integration/miniaturization. These quantum sensors can constitute a technology breakthrough in the field of gravimetry, inertial navigation, and fundamental physics.

Last but not least, light manipulation of ultra-cold atoms in microgravity, which now at hand in our laboratory, pave the way to new catalogue of cold atoms experiments in the field of condensed matter and quantum optics. All optical solutions providing a favorable optical access and gives the opportunity to implement 3D detection schemes. These techniques will simplify the study of phase transition in bubble traps as well as the study of the vortices formation and dynamics.

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