Compact, laser-cooled atomic clock

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics


The laboratory performance of laser-cooled atomic clocks based on alkali atoms has shown a fractional frequency stability of ~3x10-13 in just one second of measurement, and can reach 1x10-15 instability in just a few thousand seconds of averaging. Unfortunately, these clocks are also complex laboratory devices. They are physically large, occupying metre-scale optical table, and their experimental complexity typically requires skilled human operation and system maintenance. These characteristics present significant challenges to portability and reliability of atomic clocks, precluding their use in many application environments. Here we propose a solution to these key challenges of size and complexity: a miniaturized atomic clock that significantly reduces both the size and experimental complexity of the principal components. The project combines the single-beam grating-MOT with optical interrogation of the microwave clock transition using highly-sensitive technique of coherent population trapping (CPT). While focussing on a compact footprint and portability, the system will provide a highly accurate and stable frequency reference based on atomic rubidium, able to be deployed at the heart of next-generation commercial time and frequency applications.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2363294 Studentship EP/N509590/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2020 Michael Wright