Postdoctoral position: Multi-axis atom interferometry for inertial navigation

We offer a two-year Postdoctoral Research Associate position in the Cold atoms in Bordeaux group at LP2N. The post-doc position is part of a collaboration between LCAR, LAAS, LP2N and iXBlue to advance quantum technology toward the first multi-axis interferometer with ultra-cold atoms using a hybrid atom chip.

Most atomic sensor measurements are one-dimensional, meaning they can measure only a single axis of rotation or acceleration at a time. For inertial navigation, reconstructing the trajectory of a moving body requires simultaneous measurements of accelerations and rotations along three mutually orthogonal directions—the basis of a full inertial measurement unit (IMU). The goal of this project is to realize a miniaturized cold-atom interferometer that is capable of measuring the full three-dimensional acceleration and rotation vectors. To simplify and miniaturize the multi-axis sensor, a diffraction grating will generate all the beams required using a single incident laser.

The candidate will bring its expertise for the design of a new atom chip architecture that hybridizes the grating with a microscale magnetic trap for obtaining an ultra-cold atomic source. To design the grating accelerometer, he will replicate the configuration of laser-cooling and interrogation beams expected to be produced from the grating. It will allow us to validate the principle of selecting different axes using velocity-sensitive Raman transitions, and it will give us the freedom to study the influence of different parameters (e.g. quantization axis, beam polarization, intensity ratio) in this complex architecture by controlling each beam independently.

On the track of a full quantum IMU, the candidate will also demonstrate the experimental implementation of new multidimensional inertial sensing methods with free-falling cold-atom interferometers (CAIs). Our method relies on a recently developed formalism for multidimensional atom optics and interferometer geometries that creates coherent superpositions of matter waves along three spatial directions and enables the simultaneous measurement of accelerations and rotations in 3D. This new arsenal of atom optical tools is based on two or three mutually orthogonal excitation beams that exchange momentum with atoms along more than one spatial direction at a time. After analyzing the theoretical performance of an optimized multi-axis quantum sensor and compare it to a commercial IMU, he will tackle the experimental challenges arising from these new atom optical tools, including the efficiency of the atomic mirrors and beam-splitters, the contrast of the interferometer, detection and signal extraction, and parasitic momentum transfer to the atoms.

Profile: Candidates must hold an internationally recognized PhD degree (or evidence of its completion in the nearest future) based on experimental work, preferably in the areas of ultracold quantum gases, atom interferometry, quantum optics. We seek a highly motivated candidate with experimental background and theoretical skills in modelling cold atoms experiments.

Position details: The postdoc position is funded with an ANR grant (ANR MiniXQuanta). We offer a 24-month fixed term contract starting in October 2021. The research will take place on the campus of Université de Bordeaux, in Talence at Institut d’Optique d’Aquitaine. The project is led in the frame of the joint laboratory with the French company iXblue, to develop quantum inertial sensors for navigation.


Laboratoire Photonique, Numérique et Nanosciences
IOGSCNRS – Université Bordeaux 1
Institut d'Optique d'Aquitaine
Rue François Mitterrand
33400 Talence


Baptiste Battelier

Tel: 05 57 01 72 24