A major focus in our group is to study the physics of ultra-cold atoms and quantum gases in zero gravity. Quantum optical experiments in microgravity can extend the science of such degenerate quantum gases towards inaccessible regimes of lowest temperatures, possibly below pico-Kelvin, macroscopic dimensions, and unequalled durations of unperturbed free evolution.
In particular BECs in microgravity are of interest as a coherent source of matter waves for matter wave interferometry measurements. Matter wave interferometers have been used in a variety of laboratory experiments already, e.g. precise measurements of inertial forces or fundamental constants such as the fine structure constant or Newton´s gravitational constant. The extended unperturbed free fall of ultra-cold atoms as test particles in a low-noise environment in principle allows for much improved matter wave interferometry measurements. The experiments carried out at the drop tower serve as a pathfinder to evaluate the potential of such experiments e.g. on space based platforms.