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Fundamental Physics with a State-of-the-Art Optical Clock in Space

Published

Author(s)

Andrei Derevianko, Kurt Gibble, Leo Hollberg, Nathan R. Newbury, Chris Oates, Laura Sinclair, Nan Yu

Abstract

Recent advances in optical atomic clocks and optical time transfer have enabled new possibilities in precision metrology for both tests of fundamental physics and timing applications. Here we describe a space mission concept that would place a state-of-the-art optical atomic clock in an eccentric orbit around Earth. A high stability laser link would connect the relative time on the orbiting spacecraft to earthbound stations. The primary goal for this mission would be to test the gravitational redshift, a classical test of general relativity, with a sensitivity 30,000 times beyond current limits. Additional science objectives include other tests of relativity, enhanced searches for dark matter and drifts in fundamental constants, and establishing a high accuracy international time/geodesic reference.
Citation
Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032

Keywords

optical clocks, relativity, time transfer

Citation

Derevianko, A. , Gibble, K. , Hollberg, L. , Newbury, N. , Oates, C. , Sinclair, L. and Yu, N. (2021), Fundamental Physics with a State-of-the-Art Optical Clock in Space, Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=933956 (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created December 23, 2021, Updated March 17, 2023