The experiment QUANTUS is a pioneer project which aims for the creation of ultra-cold atomic samples under microgravity. It was started in 2004 as a joined effort of 7 collaboration partners and has received funding by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) since then. With the creation of a Bose-Einstein-Condensate (BEC) in microgravity in 2007 a major goal was achieved.
In the future the unique possibilities of weightlessness will be used to study different physical phenomena. These include studies of coherent evolution of a BEC, interferometry in microgravity (in close collaboration with QUANTUS-2 and Primus).
The full experiment with all components (power supply, laser systems, etc.) has to be implemented in a drop-capsule with an effective length of 215 cm and 60 cm diameter and has to withstand accelerations up to 50 g. The scientific payload of the capsula is limited to 234 kg.
In this experimental setup the sequential loading procedure of the atoms in a macroscopic, coil based magneto-optical trap (MOT), in a microscopic, chip-based MOT and in a chip-based Ioffe-Pritchard trap was shown.
Schematic drawing of the drop capsule. Shown are the different parts used for the experiment. All of the components are supplied by a battery pack in the lower part of the drop capsule.