General relativistic effects in atom interferometry
Abstract
Atom interferometry is now reaching sufficient precision to motivate laboratory tests of general relativity. We begin by explaining the nonrelativistic calculation of the phase shift in an atom interferometer and deriving its range of validity. From this, we develop a method for calculating the phase shift in general relativity. Both the atoms and the light are treated relativistically and all coordinate dependencies are removed, thus revealing novel terms, cancellations, and new origins for previously calculated terms. This formalism is then used to find the relativistic effects in an atom interferometer in a weak gravitational field for application to laboratory tests of general relativity. The potentially testable relativistic effects include the nonlinear threegraviton coupling, the gravity of kinetic energy, and the falling of light. We propose specific experiments, one currently under construction, to measure each of these effects. These experiments could provide a test of the principle of equivalence to 1 part in 10^{15} (300 times better than the present limit), and general relativity at the 10% level, with many potential future improvements. We also consider applications to other metrics including the LenseThirring effect, the expansion of the Universe, and preferred frame and location effects.
 Publication:

Physical Review D
 Pub Date:
 August 2008
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRevD.78.042003
 arXiv:
 arXiv:0802.4098
 Bibcode:
 2008PhRvD..78d2003D
 Keywords:

 04.80.Cc;
 03.75.Dg;
 Experimental tests of gravitational theories;
 Atom and neutron interferometry;
 High Energy Physics  Phenomenology;
 General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
 High Energy Physics  Theory;
 Physics  Atomic Physics
 EPrint:
 34 pages, 7 figures