ResearchResearch Projects
Evaluation of CAI gradiometer for the gravity field determination

Evaluation of CAI gradiometer for the gravity field determination

Led by:  Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Müller
Team:  Dr. Karim Douch, Dr.-Ing. Hu Wu
Year:  2016
Funding:  European Space Agency (ESA)
Duration:  2016-2017
Is Finished:  yes

The successful GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) mission has demonstrated that the satellite gravity gradiometry can significantly improve our knowledge on the Earth’s gravity field, especially in the medium- and short-wavelength parts. However, the electrostatic gradiometer on-board GOCE satellite is not technically perfect because of the widely-known 1/f noise in the low-frequency parts of measurements. Comparatively, the Cold Atom Interferometry (CAI) based gradiometer has flat noise down to the very-low frequency part, and shows a very long-term stability as well. In this project, our tasks are to rigorously map the CAI gradiometer’s noise to Earth’s gravity field coefficients through closed-loop simulations, where a similar mission scenario as GOCE will be taken to study a one-axis and a three-axis CAI gradiometer in the nadir Earth-pointing mode.


  1. Azer Trimeche, Baptiste Battelier, Dennis Becker, Andrea Bertoldi, Philippe Bouyer, Claus Braxmaier, Eric Charron, Robin Corgier, Merle Cornelius, Karim Douch, Naceur Gaaloul, Sven Herrmann, Jürgen Müller, Ernst Maria Rasel, Christian Schubert, Hu Wu, Franck Pereira dos Santos (2019). Concept study and preliminary design of a cold atom interferometer for space gravity gradiometry. Classical and Quantum Gravity, DOI: 10.1088/1361-6382/ab4548.

  2. Karim Douch, Hu Wu, Christian Schubert, Jürgen Müller, Franck Pereira dos Santos (2018). Simulation-based evaluation of a cold atom interferometry gradiometer concept for gravity field recovery. Advances in Space Research, 61(5): 1307-1323. DOI: