Quantum Theory of Atom-Wave Beam Splitters and Application to Multidimensional Atomic Gravito-Inertial Sensors
We review the theory of atom-wave beam splitters using atomic transitions induced by electromagnetic interactions. Both the spatial and temporal dependences of the e.m.3 fields are introduced in order to compare the differences in momentum transfer which occur for pulses either in the time or in the space domains. The phases imprinted on the matter-wave by the splitters are calculated in the limit of weak e.m. and gravitational fields and simple rules are derived for practical atom interferometers. The framework is applicable to the Lamb-Dicke regime. Finally, a generalization of present 1D beam splitters to 2D or 3D is considered and leads to a new concept of multidimensional atom interferometers to probe inertial and gravitational fields especially well-suited for space experiments.