Gravity Probe Spin: Prospects for measuring general-relativistic precession of intrinsic spin using a ferromagnetic gyroscope

Pavel Fadeev, Tao Wang, Y. B. Band, Dmitry Budker, Peter W. Graham, Alexander O. Sushkov, Derek F.Jackson Kimball

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Abstract

An experimental test at the intersection of quantum physics and general relativity is proposed: measurement of relativistic frame dragging and geodetic precession using intrinsic spin of electrons. The behavior of intrinsic spin in spacetime dragged and warped by a massive rotating body is an experimentally open question, hence the results of such a measurement could have important theoretical consequences. Such a measurement is possible by using mm-scale ferromagnetic gyroscopes in orbit around the Earth. Under conditions where the rotational angular momentum of a ferromagnet is sufficiently small, a ferromagnet's angular momentum is dominated by atomic electron spins and is predicted to exhibit macroscopic gyroscopic behavior. If such a ferromagnetic gyroscope is sufficiently isolated from the environment, rapid averaging of quantum uncertainty via the spin-lattice interaction enables readout of the ferromagnetic gyroscope dynamics with sufficient sensitivity to measure both the Lense-Thirring (frame dragging) and de Sitter (geodetic precession) effects due to the Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044056
JournalPhysical Review D
Volume103
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Feb 2021

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