Smithsonian Group Presents Instrument Design

The paper "Development of a high-sensitivity differential accelerometer to be used in the experiment to test the Equivalence Principle in an Einstein Elevator" with authors V. Iafolla, E. Fiorenza, S. Nozzoli, E.C. Lorenzini, I.I. Shapiro, S. Glashow and P.N. Cheimets, was presented at the XXXVIIIth Recontres de Moriond, Gravitational Waves and Experimental Gravity, in Les Arcs, France. The paper will be published in the conference proceedings.

The group of authors represents the TEPEE (Test of the Equivalence Principle in an Einstein Elevator) flight experiment. This paper presents the design of the differential accelerometer prototype and the experimental results obtained from laboratory testing of the prototype. Two notable experimental results are the achievement of a common-mode rejection factor of 10,000 and the rapid abatement of the initial oscillations of the sensing masses through a passive feedback loop before starting the measurement phase. The accelerometer will be used to detect differential accelerations in the test of the equivalence principle for the TEPEE experiment; any non-zero acceleration represents a violation of the principle, so sensitivity is paramount.