Collective excitation interferometry with a toroidal BEC

The precision of most compact inertial sensing schemes using trapped- and guided-atom interferometers has been limited by uncontrolled phase errors caused by trapping potentials and interactions. Here we propose an acoustic interferometer that uses sound waves in a toroidal Bose-Einstein condensate to measure rotation, and we demonstrate experimentally several key aspects of this type of interferometer. We use spatially patterned light beams to excite counterpropagating sound waves within the condensate and use in situ absorption imaging to characterize their evolution. We present an analysis technique by which we extract separately the oscillation frequencies of the standing-wave acoustic modes, the frequency splitting caused by static imperfections in the trapping potential, and the characteristic precession of the standing-wave pattern due to rotation. Supported by analytic and numerical calculations, we interpret the noise in our measurements, which is dominated by atom shot noise, in terms of rotation noise. While the noise of our acoustic interferometric sensor, at the level of \(\sim \text{rad s}^{−1}/\sqrt{\text{Hz}} \), is high owing to rapid acoustic damping and the small radius of the trap, the proof-of-concept device does operate at the high densities and small volumes of trapped Bose-Einstein condensed gases.