LEMAQUME: levitated magnets for quantum sensing

The project is a collaboration of research groups from Italy, Germany, Israel, France, and Latvia and is devoted to the exploration of levitated magnets as quantum sensors, with the ultimate goal of performing tests of fundamental laws of physics.

Some of our experiments are planned at the Einstein-Elevator, a unique facility that allows repeated zero-gravity experiments without using “Vomit Comet” aircraft or spacecraft.


The Einstein-Elevator (EE) at the Hannover Institute of Technology (HITec) is a next-generation drop tower system, which enables experiments under microgravity conditions at a high repetition rate. The EE uses a driven gondola as a vacuum chamber in which the experiment carrier is placed. The linear drive allows the acceleration of the gondola to simulate different gravity conditions including Moon, Mars and microgravity.

The accuracy of microgravity, a big sized carrier system with 1.7 m in diameter and a height of 2 m as well as the high payload of 1,000 kg are enabling new dimensions of scientific setups. The project processing time is positively influenced by the low vacuum volume of the gondola to be pumped down. With a repetition rate of up to 300 experiments per day (a flight every 4 min), the EE ensures that research campaigns can be carried out in a very short time. Research areas include: Fundamental Physics, Materials Sciences, Production Engineering and others.

One of the intentions of the LEMAQUME (LEvitated MAgnets for QUantum MEtrology) project is to design and perform a proof-of-principle experiment with a ferromagnet in free fall at the Einstein-Elevator (EE) facility to demonstrate Larmor precession and evaluate the feasibility of testing general relativity with a ferromagnetic gyroscope. In particular, the long-term vision is a space experiment to test relativistic frame-dragging and gravitomagnetism using quantum spin angular momentum. A demonstration of feasibility in the EE, which allows a free fall up to 4 s, is a necessary preliminary step in this direction.

EE photos: LUH/Christoph Lotz

Link: https://www.hitec.uni-hannover.de/en/large-scale-equipment/einstein-elevator/

LEMAQUME is a European Union’s QuantERA project