NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-2 S1.10-9683
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Atomic Interferometry
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Flux Ultracold-Atom Chip Interferometers

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ColdQuanta, Inc.
1600 Range Street, Suite 103
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2739
(303) 440-1284

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Daniel M Farkas
1600 Range St. Suite 103
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2739
(303) 440-1284

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rainer Kunz
(303) 440-1284

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
ColdQuanta's ultimate objective is to produce a compact, turnkey, ultracold-atom system specifically designed for performing interferometry with Bose-Einstein condensates. In Phase II, we propose to develop an ultracold-atom system based on ColdQuanta's channel cell technology. With this approach to ultrahigh-vacuum systems, we can design and fabricate cells that are far smaller and more robust than any other vacuum technology used with ultracold atoms (of which we are aware). With a channel cell, each stage of BEC production can occur simultaneously throughout a series of interconnected vacuum chambers. The resulting system creates ultracold atoms quasi-continuously and increases production rates by virtually eliminating dead time between sequential operating cycles. Part of the channel cell's small size is due to an integrated atom microchip that can be used to quickly produce ultracold atoms and utilize them for a variety of applications. With the flexibility afforded by atom chips, channel cells can be easily configured for a variety of interferometer geometries, including a Michelson configuration for measuring accelerations and a Sagnac configuration for measuring rotations.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Cold and ultracold atoms have the potential to dramatically enhance NASA's capabilities in numerous areas. Examples include (1) inertial sensing: compared to their light-based counterparts (e.g. fiber-optic and ring-laser gyros), ultracold-atom gyroscopes offer a phenomenal eleven orders of magnitude greater sensitivity to rotation, for equal geometries and particle fluxes. Similar improvements in accelerometry and gravimetry are also possible; (2) timekeeping: freezing the motion of atoms significantly improves accuracy, so much so that the next generation of state-of-the-art atomic clocks (with inaccuracies approaching 1 part in 10^-18) will rely on ultracold trapped atoms; and (3) magnetometry: cold and ultracold atoms offer greater sensitivities for magnetic-field sensing compared to SQUIDs and other technologies.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA commercial applications include quantum emulation, where trapped, ultracold atoms form a pristine, defect-free system that is ideal for studying condensed matter systems and simulating multibody quantum systems; implementation of quantum computers and quantum information algorithms; and atomtronics, where the precise control of ultracold atoms allows them to be engineered into useful devices that rely on the flow of coherent particles (as opposed to incoherent particles, as is the case in electricity).

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)

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