07 Dec 2021



AION and MAGIS - Development of the detection system


Co-supervisors: PPD - M. Bason and D. Newbold, University of Liverpool - J. Coleman

The MAGIS and AION collaborations develop ultra-sensitive atom interferometers that will be used to search for ultra-light dark matter and detect gravitational waves. These detectors will be built and installed at Fermilab (US) and in the UK. Both collaborations are working towards a 100-metre baseline detector as a step towards a 1 km version with sufficient sensitivity to detect gravitational waves in the mid-band from 0.1 Hz - 10 Hz - between the Advanced LIGO and LISA experiments. The AION program was funded in 2021 via the STFC's Quantum Technology for Fundamental Physics call and builds upon strong links between the two collaborations.
This studentship will focus on the development of the detection system for AION and MAGIS. It will develop advanced fluorescence imaging techniques that will allow single-shot imaging of ultracold atoms. The system will employ an in-vacuum piezo-driven retro reflection platform combined with low-noise cameras and a custom readout chain. This will be deployed at Fermilab in 2023 and is also being developed for AION.
The work will take place in a sandwich format, with a secondment to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and frequent visits to Fermilab to ensure full integration of the student into the relevant engineering teams and non-academic partners. In addition, it will leverage the experience of RAL Space to determine the feasibility for future space flight missions using atom interferometry.

For more information about this project, please contact Mark Bason.

Contact: Bason, Mark (STFC,RAL,RALSP)