VEGA: Development of embedded quantum gravimeters

March 2023, NAQUIDIS launches VEGA (Vehicle-based Exploration of Gravity using Atoms) with Exail, and LP2N.

ETA: March 2026

This project aims to develop embedded quantum gravimeters (using atomic interferometry with laser-cooled atoms). The project includes both fundamental research questions and prototyping, with the final objective of designing a cold atom quantum gravimeter in a strap-down configuration (without active stabilization platform) on mobile carriers. In terms of performance, the aim is to improve performance by an order of magnitude compared to existing classical sensors, in particular in terms of accuracy. This will considerably facilitate the measurement process by eliminating the static calibration phases.

To reach this goal, several technical and scientific challenges will have to be addressed:
– Optimal coupling between the atomic interferometer, conventional sensors (mechanical accelerometers, fiber optic gyros), and the carrier’s navigation unit. This question of hybridization and fusion of sensors is central because quantum sensors alone will not be able to meet the constraints imposed by a dynamic environment.

– To define the optimal operating regime of the atomic interferometer to guarantee a high level of performance in variable conditions (sea state, vibrations, etc.)

– To understand the needs of the end-users in terms of performance, but also in terms of size and power consumption, in order to reach the optimal compromise in terms of operability.

– To define the best system architecture taking into account all these constraints.

The expected results are the following:
– An operational prototype of an embedded quantum gravimeter running on a stabilized platform, and ready to be commercialized

– Demonstration of the principle of a quantum gravimeter in strap-down configuration, and understanding of the technical and scientific limitations

– New techniques allowing an optimal hybridization between quantum and classical sensors for embedded gravimetry

– New technological building blocks (electronics, optics, mechanics, software) to improve the embeddability of quantum sensors, or their operation in a dynamic environment

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