News of the WeekPhysics

Gravity Measurements Ride the Atom Wave

See allHide authors and affiliations

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

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


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.