An Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network (AION)

for the exploration of Ultra-Light Dark Matter and Mid-Frequency Gravitational Waves

This is the website for the Imperial branch of the AION project. To learn more about the project as a whole, visit the AION website.

The Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network is a flagship UK project in Quantum Technology for Fundamental Physics. Our goal is to use the interference between wave-packets of laser-cooled atoms to search for gravitational waves and dark matter. By carefully measuring the difference between two atom interferometers separated by a long vacuum tube, we hope to see small wobbles as gravitational waves, or coherent dark matter fields, pass through the detector. With peak sensitivity in the few-mHz to few-Hz band, the AION detector explores a region invisible to other detector platforms, providing a unique window into new physics.

The first AION-10 prototype detector, using a 10-meter vertical vacuum tube, is currently under construction at the University of Oxford with planned operation in 2-3 years. As the project proceeds, we plan to extend to a full scale detector spanning first 100m and ultimately 1km underground. Suitable sites for the 100m detector are currently being surveyed.


Older posts…


Ultra-precise, shock-resistant optical clocks

Ultra-precise, shock-resistant optical clocks

Learn about the USOC project to develop ultra-precise, shock-resistant optical clocks using a continuous stream of ultracold strontium atoms in a moving optical lattice

Read more »
The vision for AION

The vision for AION

Learn more about the core vision of AION: a 4-stage project aiming to build gravitaional wave and dark matter detectors at the km-scale using cutting-edge techniques from quantum science.

Read more »
The AION Physics Case in a Nutshell

The AION Physics Case in a Nutshell

The physics case for AION - our proposed sensitivity to dark matter and gravitational waves explained.

Read more »


Principle Investigator

Prof. Oliver Buchmueller
PI of AION project overall


Graduate Students

Alice Josset
Alice Josset
David Evans D
David Evans


Profs. Chris Foot, Ian Shipsey Oxford University
Prof. Jon Coleman Liverpool University
Prof. Mike Holynski Birmingham University
Drs. Mark Bason, Anna Marchant RAL Space
Prof. John Ellis, Dr. Chris McCabe Kings College London


Ludovico Iannizzotto Venezze Masters, 2021-2022
Ranveer Riyat MSc project, 2021-2022