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Airborne matter wave inertial sensing


Inertial sensors relying on atom interferometry offer a breakthrough advance in a variety of applications, such as inertial navigation, gravimetry or ground and space based tests of fundamental physics. These instruments require a quiet environment to reach their performance and using them outside the laboratory remains a challenge. I will report the first operation of an airborne matter wave accelerometer set up aboard a 0-g plane and operating during the standard gravity (1-g) and microgravity (0-g) phases of the flight. I will explain how it is possible to detect inertial effects more than 300 times weaker than the typical acceleration fluctuations of the aircraft. I will also describe the 0-g operation of the matter wave sensor and discuss the extension of our method to airborne and spaceborne tests of the Universality of Free Fall with cold atoms.