Application of Atom Interferometric Technology For GPS Independent Navigation and Time Solutions
Hugh Rice, Vincent Benischek, Leszek Sczaniecki, Lockheed Martin RMS
Location: Big Sur
Atom Interferometry (AI) is a next generation inertial navigation unit (INU) technology based on Nobel Prize winning research into atom laser cooling and coherent atom waves: the quantum duality of atoms to exhibit both particle and wave properties.
Current high precision navigation systems use gyroscopes based on the interference of optical waves: fiber optic gyros (FOGs) and ring laser gyros (RLGs). Future atomic sensors will use the interference of hyperfine ground state atoms brought to a few micro-Kelvin degrees above absolute zero through momentum exchange between lasers and atoms. AI technology potentially provides the highest sensitivity for rotation and acceleration sensing: gyroscopes and accelerometers, gravimeters and gravity gradiometers. Gravity gradiometers eliminate INU gravity induced errors. AI technology could potentially provide the entire Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) solution as atomic clocks (Rubidium and Cesium for example) are based on the interference of hyperfine ground state atoms.
For more than ten years Lockheed Martin Mitchel Field (LMMF) has been collaborating with the universities and organizations that are developing AI technology i.e.: Stanford University and AOSense to apply this technology to address various Naval platform navigation challenges.
This paper will discuss Atom Interferometric theory, LMMF’s technology applications, and system implementations for providing AI based GPS independent navigation solutions. This presentation will include LMMF’s AI standalone INS mechanization, AI navigation enhancement modules such as an AI gravimeter based IMU error control module, and an AI gravity gradient enhancement to provide passive precise position fixing and Digital Nautical Chart (DNC) validation / correction.