Main Research Fields
My personal research focuses on precision measurements and fundamental physics tests based on quantum sensors. It includes both experimental and theoretical studies on:
- Cooling and trapping of neutral atoms with laser light;
- Pure magnetic and optical confinement of ultra-cold atoms;
- Bose-Einstein condensation;
- Atom interferometry;
- High-precision time & frequency metrology and atomic clocks;
- Entangled states;
- Precision tests of general relativity and quantum mechanics, both from space and on the ground, with atomic clocks, matter-wave interferometers, space-to-ground links relying on classical and entangled states of light.
My core activity is represented by the ACES (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) mission, to which I am contributing as project scientist. ACES is developing high stability and accuracy clocks that will be deployed on-board the International Space Station (ISS). From there, the ACES clock signal will be compared to the best clocks on the ground to perform a precision measurement of the Einstein's gravitational time dilation and for Standard Model Extension tests.
In parallel, we are developing the next generation of atomic clocks based on the optical transition of Sr atoms. This clock is going to improve the stability and accuracy delivered by ACES by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude.
Finally, Space Quest is an experiment designed for the ISS to provide the first constraints on decoherence effects introduced by gravity on pairs of entangled photons.
KeywordsCold atoms, laser cooling, magnetic and optical trapping, Bose-Einstein condensation, atom interferometry, atomic clocks, free space links, entangled states, fundamental physics tests, ACES, SOC, Space Quest
- MAGIA (Misura Accurata di G mediante Interferometria Atomica) experiment, in collaboration with the University of Firenze and INFN (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare): MAGIA is an atom interferometer which has already delivered an accurate measurement of the Newtonian gravitational constant and it is now used for gravity, gravity gradient and curvature measurements, as well as to test the Weak Equivalence Principle on quantum objects.
Project/mission at ESA
- ACES (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) Project Scientist
- SOC (Space Optical Clock) Study Scientist
- Space Quest (Quantum Entanglement Space Test) Study Scientist
- REL-GAL (Testing general relativity with eccentric Galileo satellites) Technical Officer