Experimental Gravitational Physics and Geodesy

Intersatellite Laser Ranging. GRACE follow-on ©AEI

In the group Experimental Gravitational Physics and Geodesy (EGPG), we develop optical and micro-opto-mechanical technologies for space missions, such as the space gravitational wave observatory, LISA, and future space geodesy observatories beyond GRACE follow-on.

Optomechanical Inertial Sensors

We are developing novel inertial sensors based on miniture mechanical oscillators and micro-optical displacement sensors. A wide variety of scientific observations in gravitational physics, geodesy and remote sensing rely on the performance of dynamic measurement instruments. Particularly, space projects and high precision experiments in fundamental physics require, at their core, compact and light-weight sensors capable of measuring with extremely high sensitivity.

geo-Q | Relativistic geodesy and gravimetry with quantum sensors.
Collaborative Research Center (SFB) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). ©geo-Q

Together with other German research institutes and universities, our group participates in the Collaborative Research Center  geo-Q (SFB - Sonderforschungsbereich), where we are investigating new approaches for separation and alignment measurements between satellites by means of interspacraft laser interferometry. These technologies are expected to greatly enhance the gradiometric measurements in future GRACE-like missions. Moreover, within geo-Q, we are developing optomechanical accelerometers and seismometers that will help enhance the performance of atom interferometers form gravimetry applications, and torsion balances in the study of small forces.

LISA - Laser Interferometer Space Antenna ©ESA

Similarly, we are contributing in various aspects for the development of the laser-interferometric measurement system for LISA, which, complementarily to LIGO and VIRGO, will enable us to observe gravitational waves from cosmological sources in the mHz frequency band.