INRIM Time and Frequency Laboratory: An Update on the Ongoing Enhancement Activities

G. Cerretto, R. Costa, V. Pettiti, A. Ceballos

Abstract: INRIM Time and Frequency Laboratory (here after indicated as TFL), realizes and makes available to the users the UTC(IT) time scale, the legal time scale for Italy. Generated by means of an active hydrogen maser (AHM) and supported by an ensemble of cesium beam frequency standards, hydrogen masers and cesium atomic fountains, it is synchronized via satellite (GPS and TWSFT, Two Way Satellite Time and Frequency Transfer) with those generated by other international NMIs (National Metrological Institutes) and it is kept in agreement with the international time scale UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) computed by BIPM. Also, TFL regularly contributes to the realization of the TAI time scale, sending to BIPM the measurements results carried out following protocols defined at international level. In this paper the status of the TFL is presented, highlighting for the wide range ongoing activities that are carried out in order to enhance its robustness and performances, with the aim to better solve the task of national NMI as well as preparing for providing accurate and reliable services to the European navigation system Galileo. In particular, the automatic measuring and controlling system, whose functions are basically to collect essential timing measurements and synchronization data, together with information about the status of all the equipment involved in the measurement processes. In order to improve the current system and to cope with ISO/IEC 17025 standard requirements, a new system called DMS (Data Management System) has been designed, allowing for an efficient integration of data coming from different sources. This system will work associated to a further informatics system called FMS (File Management System) that will allow for a flexible and robust management of the measurements files to be exchanged within the TFL and with the external entities. Beside this and being the core of the laboratory, a new system for the UTC(IT) time scale generation is under realization, foreseen to be totally automatic and relying on at least two parallel chains (based on AHM), a switching matrix allowing for commutation among the chains in case of failures/anomalies and new steering and clocks anomalies detection algorithms. Enhancements in the TLF dissemination services will be addressed, as well as the new power supply and informatics systems, together with a system able to send e-mail and SMS (Short Message Service) in case of failures/anomalies affecting the different TFL elements.
Published in: Proceedings of the 45th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
December 2 - 5, 2013
Hyatt Regency Bellevue
Bellevue, Washington
Pages: 14 - 20
Cite this article: Cerretto, G., Costa, R., Pettiti, V., Ceballos, A., "INRIM Time and Frequency Laboratory: An Update on the Ongoing Enhancement Activities," Proceedings of the 45th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Bellevue, Washington, December 2013, pp. 14-20.
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