FreezeRay (Compact laser cooled cold atom source)


Following the Nobel Prize winning discovery that lasers can cool atoms to extremely low temperatures, where they can occupy a single quantum state, there has been a lot of research into potential applications. Laboratory experiments with cold atoms have shown a 1000 times improvement in inertial navigation accuracy and a 1000 times improvement in timing over conventional atomic clocks. For these breakthroughs to be exploited in real applications the laboratory experiments must be developed into practical devices that could be operated in a satellite, aircraft, ship or hospital The aim of the FreezeRay project is to develop a commercial “all-in-one” system for cooling atoms. This will be the core engine of a cold atom system and will consist of a compact sealed vacuum chamber and a highly stable laser source that will cool the atoms. The technical approach will draw on component technology such as lasers and amplifiers that have been developed for optical communications and are highly reliable with operating lifetime exceeding 25 years in harsh environments.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Gooch & Housego (Torquay) Limited, Ilminster, United Kingdom £198,444 £ 99,222


Teledyne E2v (UK) Limited1, Essex £129,604 £ 64,802
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom


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