Abstract:
Atom interferometers allow the measurement of the acceleration of freely falling atoms with respect to an experimental platform at rest on Earth's surface. Such experiments have been used to test the universality of free fall by comparing the acceleration of the atoms to that of a classical freely falling object. In a recent paper, M\"uller, Peters and Chu [Nature {\bf 463}, 926-929 (2010)] argued that atom interferometers also provide a very accurate test of the gravitational redshift (or universality of clock rates). Considering the atom as a clock operating at the Compton frequency associated with the rest mass, they claimed that the interferometer measures the gravitational redshift between the atom-clocks in the two paths of the interferometer at different values of gravitational potentials. In the present paper we analyze this claim in the frame of general relativity and of different alternative theories, and conclude that the interpretation of atom interferometers as testing the gravitational redshift at the Compton frequency is unsound. The present work is a summary of our extensive paper [Wolf et al., arXiv:1012.1194, Class. Quant. Grav. 28, 145017, (2011)], to which the reader is referred for more details.

Abstract:
We present an exhaustive analysis of the light-induced frequency shifts of the photoassociation lines of ultracold metastable 4He* atoms in a magnetic trap. The measurements of the shifts of several vibrational levels bound in the purely long-range J=1,0u+ potential linked to the 23S1-23P0 asymptote were reported in a previous paper and are analyzed here. The simplicity of this system makes it very appropriate for a detailed study. Indeed, the purely long-range character of the excited potential allows one to calculate exact excited molecular wavefunctions and to use asymptotic expansions at large internuclear distances of the ground state wavefunctions appearing in Franck-Condon type integrals. Moreover, the number of collisional channels to be considered is strongly reduced by the absence of hyperfine structure for 4He* and the use of polarized ultracold atoms and polarized light. This allows us to derive semi-analytical expressions for the shifts showing explicitly their linear dependences on the s-wave scattering length a of spin polarized metastable 4He* atoms. This explains how it is possible to derive the measurement of a from these shifts.

Abstract:
In a recent paper, H. Mueller, A. Peters and S. Chu [A precision measurement of the gravitational redshift by the interference of matter waves, Nature 463, 926-929 (2010)] argued that atom interferometry experiments published a decade ago did in fact measure the gravitational redshift on the quantum clock operating at the very high Compton frequency associated with the rest mass of the Caesium atom. In the present Communication we show that this interpretation is incorrect.

Abstract:
Atom interferometers allow the measurement of the acceleration of freely falling atoms with respect to an experimental platform at rest on Earth's surface. Such experiments have been used to test the universality of free fall by comparing the acceleration of the atoms to that of a classical freely falling object. In a recent paper, M\"uller, Peters and Chu [Nature {\bf 463}, 926-929 (2010)] argued that atom interferometers also provide a very accurate test of the gravitational redshift when considering the atom as a clock operating at the Compton frequency associated with the rest mass. We analyze this claim in the frame of general relativity and of different alternative theories. We show that the difference of "Compton phases" between the two paths of the interferometer is actually zero in a large class of theories, including general relativity, all metric theories of gravity, most non-metric theories and most theoretical frameworks used to interpret the violations of the equivalence principle. Therefore, in most plausible theoretical frameworks, there is no redshift effect and atom interferometers only test the universality of free fall. We also show that frameworks in which atom interferometers would test the redshift pose serious problems, such as (i) violation of the Schiff conjecture, (ii) violation of the Feynman path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and of the principle of least action for matter waves, (iii) violation of energy conservation, and more generally (iv) violation of the particle-wave duality in quantum mechanics. Standard quantum mechanics is no longer valid in such frameworks, so that a consistent interpretation of the experiment would require an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics. As such an alternative has not been proposed to date, we conclude that the interpretation of atom interferometers as testing the gravitational redshift is unsound.

Abstract:
Hohensee, Chu, Peters and M\"uller have submitted a comment (arXiv:1112.6039 [gr-qc]) on our paper "Does an atom interferometer test the gravitational redshift at the Compton frequency?", Classical and Quantum Gravity 28, 145017 (2011), arXiv:1009.2485 [gr-qc]. Here we reply to this comment and show that the main result of our paper, namely that atom interferometric gravimeters do not test the gravitational redshift at the Compton frequency, remains valid.

Abstract:
Taking into account four universal constants, namely the Planck's constant $h$, the velocity of light $c$, the constant of gravitation $G$ and the Boltzmann's constant $k$ leads to structuring theoretical physics in terms of three theories each taking into account a pair of constants: the quantum theory of fields ($h$ and $c$), the general theory of relativity ($c$ and $G$) and quantum statistics ($h$ and $k$). These three theories are not yet unified but, together, they underlie the standard models that allow a satisfactory phenomenological description of all experimental or observational data, in particle physics and in cosmology and they provide, through the modern interpretation of quantum physics, fundamental metrology with a reliable theoretical basis.

Abstract:
Here is proposed the idea of linking the dark matter issue, (considered as a major problem of contemporary research in physics) with two other open theoretical questions, one, almost centenary about the existence of an unavoidable ether in general relativity agreeing with the Mach's principle, and one more recent about the properties of the quantum vacuum of the quantum field theory of strong interactions, QuantumChromodynamics (QCD). According to this idea, on the one hand, dark matter and dark energy that, according to the current standard model of cosmology represent about 95% of the universe content, can be considered as two distinct forms of the Mach's ether, and, on the other hand, dark matter, as a perfect fluid emerging from the QCD vacuum could be modeled as a Bose Einstein condensate.

Abstract:
We review experimental and theoretical work on cold, trapped metastable noble gases. We em- phasize the aspects which distinguish work with these atoms from the large body of work on cold, trapped atoms in general. These aspects include detection techniques and collision processes unique to metastable atoms. We describe several experiments exploiting these unique features in fields including atom optics and statistical physics. We also discuss precision measurements on these atoms including fine structure splittings, isotope shifts, and atomic lifetimes.

Abstract:
the ability to introduce genetic modifications in the germ line of complex organisms has been a long-standing goal of those who study developmental biology. in this regard, the mouse, a favorite model for the study of the mammals, is unique: indeed not only is it possible since the late seventies, to add genes to the mouse genome like in several other complex organisms but also to perform gene replacement and modification. this has been made possible via two technological breakthroughs: 1) the isolation and culture of embryonic stem cells (es), which have the unique ability to colonize all the tissues of an host embryo including its germ line; 2) the development of methods allowing homologous recombination between an incoming dna and its cognate chromosomal sequence (gene ''targeting''). as a result, it has become possible to create mice bearing null mutations in any cloned gene (knock-out mice). such a possibility has revolutionized the genetic approach of almost all aspects of the biology of the mouse. in recent years, the scope of gene targeting has been widened even more, due to the refinement of the knock-out technology: other types of genetic modifications may now be created, including subtle mutations (point mutations, micro deletions or insertions, etc.) and chromosomal rearrangements such as large deletions, duplications and translocations. finally, methods have been devised which permit the creation of conditional mutations, allowing the study of gene function throughout the life of an animal, when gene inactivation entails embryonic lethality. in this paper, we present an overview of the methods and scenarios used for the programmed modification of mouse genome, and we underline their enormous interest for the study of mammalian biology.