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Research Fellows Directory

Jonathon Coleman

Dr Jonathon Coleman

Research Fellow


University of Liverpool

Research summary

The extension of my Royal Society Fellowship is based upon a unique experiment using atom-interferometry for the Direction Detection of the unknown contents of the basic vacuum of space which can be interpreted as Dark Energy.

The completely unexpected discovery that the expansion of size of the visible universe is accelerating in time is contrary to the previous belief that while the size of the universe will continue to expand, the rate of expansion will slow down. Something is driving the expansion. All our knowledge of the existence and properties of Dark Energy are based on astronomical observations. Since these observations are on the cosmological scale they may not teach us in detail about the essence of Dark Energy, is it an energy field, is it related to matter, is it just a term in the equations that describe general relativity? Or is it some other phenomenon that we have never thought about? But we know that Dark Energy is important. Our present model of the contents of the present universe is about 75 % Dark Energy and 25 % matter. It is essential to find other ways to investigate the nature of the Dark Energy phenomena. The proposed experiment does exactly that.

The method uses two atom interferometers to cancel the effect of earth’s gravity and diverse noise sources. The earth-based apparatus moves through space at several 100 km/s due primarily to the motion of our Galaxy and leads to an irregular variation in the net root-mean-square signal derived from a comparison of the phase shifts of the two interferometers.

This is the first idea and realisation for such an experiment.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Ultracold Atoms for the Study of Fundamental Physics and its Applications

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2014 - Sep 2019

Value: £300,467.85

A measurement of Neutrino Oscillation and of the Mixing Angle Theta_13 with T2K

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Dec 2009 - Sep 2014

Value: £493,297.87