News of the WeekPhysics

Gravity Measurements Ride the Atom Wave

Science  07 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5378, pp. 762-763
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5378.762b

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Summary

Gravity may be the law of the land, but the force it applies varies slightly depending on the rocks beneath our feet. In the 3 August Physical Review Letters, researchers report that they have devised a sensitive new scheme for mapping these variations that relies on the quantum mechanical nature of atoms. The device--a pair of so-called atom interferometers--could eventually be useful for searching out new oil and gas deposits, which reveal themselves in tiny gravity anomalies.

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