Optical System for Precision Atomic Clocks and Stable Oscillators

Period of Performance: 06/19/2014 - 03/30/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vescent Photonics
14998 W 6th Ave # 700 Array
Golden, CO 80401
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


ABSTRACT: Compact precision atomic clocks are capable of satisfying the time-keeping needs of both the Air Force and potential civilian applications. The path towards integration remains a long one, however, as optical clocks currently occupy optical tables in the relatively benign environment of the research lab. A key component enabling deployment into the field is an optical system capable of both providing short term stability between clock interrogations, as well as transfer the stability of the optical transition into the more accessible microwave regime. During the Phase-I portion of this contract Vescent proposes to evaluate and test the key technologies that would enable such a system. Vescent will also research the trade-offs between the current state of the art for stability vs size and vibrational robustness. Finally, the Phase-I will conclude with a Phase-II system design incorporating the results of the component tests and research for a field-deployable optical system for a compact precision cold atom clock. BENEFIT: Precision timekeeping has, and will always be, of fundamental importance to the commercial marketplace. The next generation of clocks have the promise to enable higher resolution RADAR, more reliable and robust GPS, and communication systems insensitive to jamming. The most likely candidates to deliver the necessary performance are atomic clocks whose stability is transferred to the microwave. In addition, atomic clocks are needed for data synchronization in internet SONET networks and for 3G microwave networks. As more data is jammed through the existing bandwidth, more accurate clocks for network synchronization are required.