We have recently received funding for the next round in the development of optical breadboard technologies for complex optical space missions with a special view towards Quantum-enhanced satellite missions.
Background: There is currently a large drive at ESA and NASA to prepare for the next jump in technology: Quantum-enhanced space missions. The two top candidates are quantum cryptography and atom-quantum missions for fundamental physics or gravity detection. One candidate for the fundamental mission might be STE-QUEST, which aims at measuring Einstein’s weak equivalence principle (We are part of the core-science team). The more apply quantum technological mission would be to map earth’s gravity field using atom-quantum interferometry (GOCE – Follow On). This will give much needed information on water levels (and salinity) of the world’s oceans and changes in ground water levels over the continents.
Our mission is to supply a key component for the satellites: the optical bench, where the laser light is distributed and conditioned in amplitude and frequency. So far, due to the extreme specs imposed by atom interferometry, this is not possible using in-fiber technology. Hence the need to develop then necessary optical breadboard technologies for quantum satellites.
The Master Student will work on an ESA project to provide exactly this technology. This will require optics knowledge – both experimentally and theoretically. The student(s) will work under the supervision of Wolf von Klitzing and Dimitris Papazoglou.