Goddard physicist Babak Saif, along with researchers from Stanford University and AOSense Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, has received NASA funding to advance a potentially revolutionary technology — atom optics — to detect theoretically predicted gravitational waves.
Credit: NASA/Pat Izzo

NASA pursues atom optics to detect the imperceptible

October 18, 2012 by Lori Keesey

(Phys.org)—A pioneering technology capable of atomic-level precision is now being developed to detect what so far has remained imperceptible: gravitational waves or ripples in space-time caused by cataclysmic events including even the Big Bang itself.

A team of researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Stanford University in California, and AOSense, Inc., in Sunnyvale, Calif., recently won funding under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program to advance atom-optics technologies. Some believe this emerging, highly precise measurement technology is a technological panacea for everything from measuring gravitational waves to steering submarines and airplanes.

Read more: NASA pursues atom optics to detect the imperceptible — phys.org.

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