Setup of an active drop tower

HITec building with highlighted Einstein-Elevator
Led by:  Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Lotz
Year:  2011
Funding:  DFG und Land Niedersachsen (Projektträger)
Duration:  since 10/2011
Is Finished:  yes
Further information

As part of the establishment of the Hannover Institute of Technology (HITec), an active drop tower, the Einstein-Elevator is being set up by the Institute of Transport and Automation Technology (ITA). The design, development and construction of the facility are being carried out in collaboration with the Center for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research (QUEST). The aim is to be able to carry out experiments under weightlessness (microgravity) and other gravity conditions (hypogravity and hypergravity). In addition to basic physical research, the facility will also be used by the ITA for the topic of production technology in space.

Traditional drop towers are used for basic research in the field of physics. In addition, research for the aerospace industry is also carried out in drop towers. The main research areas of the Hannover Institute of Technology (HITec), which emerged from the cluster of excellence QUEST, are quantum engineering and space-time research. The research of quantum effects for the production of ambitious measurement technologies is a core research area. Within the framework of HITec, new concepts are therefore being developed that are intended to improve previous measurement accuracies by many orders of magnitude through the targeted use of quantum effects. New results from basic research in quantum optics and solid state physics lead to innovative measurement technologies with the highest precision.

In drop towers, experiments are carried out in free fall in a vacuum chamber. Due to the lack of air resistance, the experiment chamber is in a state of zero gravity during falling. The drop tower of the Center for Applied Astronautics and Microgravitation (ZARM) of the University of Bremen with a free fall height of 110 m and a total height of the tower of 146 m is one of the most famous. A disadvantage of many of the common drop towers is that only a few drops per day are possible due to the time-consuming evacuation of the vacuum chamber.

The Einstein-Elevator is a variation of the classic drop tower. It is unique around the world due to its drive concept. This shall make it possible to achieve a high repetition rate of experiments with up to 300 experiments per day, since the evacuation of large vacuum chamber is not required. In addition, the planned drive concept allows not only experiments in a state of microgravity, but also under adjustable gravity conditions, such as are predominant on the Moon or Mars.

Details about the facility at


further information

Project title: Setup of an active drop tower
Acronym Einstein-Elevator

other participating institutes/partners

Institute of Quantum Optics (IQ), QUEST-LFS and
Institute for Drive Systems and Power Electronics (IAL)
at Leibniz Universität Hannover

Project Manager Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ertmer
other participating researchers

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Overmeyer
Dr.-Ing. Christoph Lotz