Dr. Christian Rothleitner
Faculty of Sciences, Technology and Communication, University of Luxembourg
Room 281, Phyics and Astronomy Dept., Polo Scientifico di Sesto Fiorentino
Published on-line at 10:38:47 AM on Thursday, November 29th, 2012
The development of a new instrument to measure gravity and its application to the determination of the Gravitational Constant
A new high-precision instrument to determine Newton's Gravitational Constant at the University of Luxembourg-
Mapping the gravitational field finds applications in many areas of science and technology. It provides important information for oil or mineral exploration, for local, regional and global anomalies describing geophysical occurrences, like volcanoes or post-glacial rebound, and finds also applications in geoid mapping and navigation.
In order to study Earth's gravity field its field strength g or the first derivative of g is measured. However, a very interesting property lies in the second derivative of g. This quantity is connected to the curvature produced by gravitation. It can be shown that inertial forces are completely eliminated in the second derivative of g. This separation of gravitational from inertial forces, however, does not contradict Einstein's equivalence principle. The reason lies in the different nature of inertial forces, for they do not curve space.
At the University of Luxembourg we are developing an instrument, capable of measuring the second vertical derivative of g in a direct way. Its measurement principle is similar to a classical free-fall absolute gravimeter, however differ from such in a way that the differential acceleration of three simultaneously falling test masses is measured.
This instrument is developed for a precision measurement to determine Newton's Gravitational Constant, which will be conducted at our institute. Due to its particular properties, however, it defines a new instrument with possible applications in geophysics, engineering and fundamental physics.
For further informations, please contact Dr. Fiodor Sorrentino.
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