Ultra­-stable, Portable Fabry­-Perot Cavities

Period of Performance: 04/02/2014 - 06/30/2016

$749K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Boulder Precision E-O
5733 central ave
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Colorado Boulder
572 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Institution POC

Research Topics

Abstract

Frequency stabilized lasers are essential subsystems in many applications. Most importantly, they are used as flywheel oscillators in optical atomic clocks, as well as in many sensing and measurement systems, and some examples are down oil well sensing, laser radar and ranging in space, and synthetic aperture radar. Optical atomic clocks, based on transitions that have higher line Q-factors than their microwave counterparts, hold the promise of an improvement of a factor 100 in stability and accuracy over present microwave clocks. The stability achieved by (optical) clocks scales with the line width of the clock transition and the readout noise of the state of the atoms. Quantum projection noise is the fundamental limitation of the readout noise, and projection noise has limited the performance of microwave and single-ion atomic clocks, the latter operating in the regime where projection noise is larger than the Dick effect. In optical atomic clocks based on neutral atoms, the quantum projection noise is substantially reduced and the Dick effect [1] limits the stability of the clock. The Dick effect will be reduced by improving the frequency stability of the local oscillator, or reducing the dead time of the pulsed characteristic of the atomic clock. The significance of this proposal is that improving local oscillator stability directly improves the stability of neutral atom optical atomic clocks and can surpass that of the single-ion clocks substantially.