[Ph D position] Compact laser source for an onboard matter-waves inertial sensor

Spectacular improvement has been achieved in laser cooled atom physics during the two last decades. The ability to manipulate and control cold atoms associated to various accurate measurements allowed the development of matter waves interferometers having measurement noise and long term stability excellent enough to make them candidate for a technological breakthrough in the field of inertial sensors. Nowadays, substantial technical developments have been done and have allowed to bring to market atom gravimeters and clocks enabling static long term measurements. Nevertheless, the use of cold atoms sensors for navigation and positioning still needs to solve a lot of scientific and technological challenges such as compliance with onboard applications and compactness, measurement continuity, operating these sensors in relevant environment and in contact with other measurement instrumentation.

The Joint Laboratory iXAtom brings together the knowledge of a French company of very high technological added value- iXBlue, expert in photonics and inertial navigation of very high performance – and a public laboratory specialized in atom interferometry at the highest worldwide level- LP2N. The goal of the joint laboratory is to bring a technological breakthrough using cold atoms to develop the next generation of inertial sensors for industrial, space and military applications, with an expected improvement of the performances by several orders of magnitude with a device of same size.

The laser system constitutes an essential part of matter wave sensors. Electronics included, this subsystem is very complex and demands a specific and very advanced development for onboard devices. With this avowed goal, LP2N developed an expertise in fibered lasers based on components coming from telecommunication field associated with a frequency doubling stage in order to reach the wavelength of the atomic transition of Rubidium. This laser technology has been tested on ICE experiment on board the ZERO-G plane and on compact prototypes of atom gravimeters and clocks.

The goal of this study is the manipulation of matter-waves thanks to a new generation compact laser source. This device will be developed during these three years and will be tested on the cold atom interferometry experiments and prototypes available in our laboratory. In particular, the purpose will be to validate all the key phases of an inertial measurement with cold atoms: cooling, preparation of states, interferometry and detection. Moreover, environmental and onboard tests will be done both with the means provided by the industrial partner iXBlue, and on the experiment installed on the ZERO-G plane making parabolic flights (ICE).

The first efforts done by the laboratory and the industrial partners on ICE experiment and gravimeters for field applications have to be kept up for inertial navigation in order to pass a new key step in compactness and reliability, especially to boost the compliance with onboard applications. The goal of the PhD. Student will consist in developing an ultra-compact laser source for an onboard accelerometer. Firstly, he will define the needs applied to inertial navigation targeting a level of performance adapted to a relevant compactness and taking into account some aspects such as power consumption and the weight. Then, the student will design and produce the laser system including optical components, control electronics and microwaves signal generation. All the functions will be studied especially the servo lock method, sideband generation, power and polarization control. During this study, it is also planned to develop and characterize key photonic or electro-optic components which can allow to simplify the laser system.

The candidate will be asked an advanced expertise in the following fields: optics and photonics, laser, electronics, servo lock systems, computer science. Knowledge in atom physics and ultra-cold gas can be a plus. The Ph D. student will have strong contact with the development team at IxBlue in Besançon in order to develop specific components.



Equipe/service : Groupe Cold Atoms in Bordeaux LP2N. Laboratoire commun IXAtom



Localisation : Talence (France)


Profil recherché : Etudiant en master/école d’ingénieur niveau M2 dans une formation spécialisée en optique/photonique


Date de début : 1er octobre 2017


Durée : 3 ans


Financement : Thèse CIFRE IxBlue Garanti 100%


Contact LP2N: B. BATTELIER Email : baptiste.battelier@institutoptique.fr

Tel : 05 57 01 72 24



Contact IxBlue : H. PORTE E-mail : henri.porte@ixblue.com


directeur de thèse: P. BOUYER Directeur du LP2N

Laboratoire Photonique, Numérique et Nanosciences

UMR5298 – LP2N IOGS – CNRS – Université Bordeaux

Institut d’Optique d’Aquitaine

Rue François Mitterrand



Tel : +33 5 57 01 72 00

Mob : +33 6 22 96 92 36

Fax : +33 1 72 70 35 76

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  1. […] photonique, lasers, électronique, asservissement, informatique.   Prolongation en thèse possible http://www.lp2n.fr/?p=1485 (octobre 2016) Equipe/service : Groupe « Cold Atoms in Bordeaux » LP2N Localisation : Talence […]

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