Atomic-Photonic Integration

Funding Agency:
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency


The Microsystems Technology Office at DARPA seeks innovative proposals for: 1) the development of portable Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) to reduce the complexity of trappedatom-based high-performance Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) devices; and 2) proving the feasibility and advancing the development of a trapped-atom gyroscope: a matter-wave analogue of the interferometric fiber-optic gyroscope. Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice. 

The Atomic-Photonic Integration (A-PhI) program will develop trapped-atom based, high performance PNT devices and reduce the complexity of these atomic systems using PICs. These PICs will replace the optical assembly behind atomic physics devices, while still enabling the necessary trapping, cooling, manipulation, and interrogation of atoms. 


  • Abstract Due Date: August 16, 2018
  • Proposal Due Date: September 27, 2018 

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Technical Area 1: Clock

This technical area will focus on translating known trap physics to a PIC-based architecture. This will require a PIC that delivers the cooling, trapping, and clock light (as well as any re-pump light, if required). This, in turn, requires advances in larger-area on-/off-chip couplers, as well as on-chip polarization control, to allow for proper trapping, manipulation, and interrogation of atomic states. In addition, a narrow-linewidth, on-chip oscillator at the clock frequency will need to be developed. 

Technical Area 2: Gyroscope

The focus of this technical area will be to develop the appropriate trapped-atom physics for a gyroscope. This will require the creation of an atom trapping architecture that enables a confined atomic Sagnac interferometer, an atomic analog to interferometric fiber-optic gyroscope. Success will require the advancement of atom trapping techniques and the study of detrimental loss sources and interactions. Once the atomic Sagnac interferometers are developed, the trapping architecture will be reproduced with PICs. The development of PICs to trap and interrogate atoms for gyroscope may be the subject of a future BAA and should not be proposed in response to the current solicitation.



Amount Description

This BAA is primarily, but not solely, intended for early stage research (studies) that may lead to larger, focused, MTO programs in the future. Studies are defined as single phase efforts of short duration (< 12 months) costing less than $1,000,000.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences

External Deadline

September 27, 2018