AION: an atom interferometer observatory and network

Christopher McCabe, John Ellis, Diego Blas, Ville Vaskonen, Marek Lewicki, Leonardo Badurina, E Bentine, K Bongs, D Bortoletto, T Bowcock, K Bridges, W Bowden, O Buchmueller, C Burrage, J Coleman, G Elertas, C Foot, V Gibson, M. G Haehnelt, T HarteS Hedges, R Hobson, M Holynski, T Jones, M Langlois, S Lellouch, R Maiolino, P Majewski, S Malik, J March-Russell, D Newbold, B Sauer, U Schneider, I Shipsey, Y Singh, M. A Uchida, T Valenzuela, M van der Grinten, J Vossebeld, D Weatherill, I Wilmut

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We outline the experimental concept and key scientific capabilities of AION (Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network), a proposed experimental programme using cold strontium atoms to search for ultra-light dark matter, to explore gravitational waves in the mid-frequency range between the peak sensitivities of the LISA and LIGO/Virgo/ KAGRA/INDIGO/Einstein Telescope/Cosmic Explorer experiments, and to probe other frontiers in fundamental physics. AION would complement other planned searches for dark matter, as well as probe mergers involving intermediate-mass black holes and explore early-universe cosmology. AION would share many technical features with the MAGIS experimental programme, and synergies would flow from operating AION in a network with this experiment, as well as with other atom interferometer experiments such as MIGA, ZAIGA and ELGAR. Operating AION in a network with other gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO, Virgo and LISA would also offer many synergies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2020


  • dark matter experiments
  • gravitational waves / experiments
  • particle physics - cosmology connection
  • physics of the early universe


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