Abstract: David Butts '06

Inertial Navigation with Cold Atom Interferometry


Atom interferometric sensors exploit the wave nature of matter to make highly accurate measurements of inertial forces.  Following major developments in the laser cooling of atoms and in atom interferometry, existing laboratory sensors compete with or surpass the accuracy of state of the art electro-mechanical and electro-optic inertial technology.  However, it is challenging for atom interferometers to operate robustly in dynamic environments (e.g., flight guidance), and their size, weight, and power are typically unsuitable for many applications.  Advances in mobile atom inertial sensing technology, including novel atom optics and compact vacuum cell design, could dramatically reduce the dependence of precision navigation systems on GPS, and enable precise pointing and gravity mapping systems.  This presentation provides an overview of inertial sensing with atom interferometry, discusses topics of current research such as large momentum transfer atom optics and ultracold atom interferometry.


David Butts is a physicist in the Electro-Optics and Instruments group of the Guidance Hardware division at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.  He currently works on precise inertial sensing with atomic systems.  He received a B.A. in physics from Williams College, and an S.M. and Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT