Progress on a Miniature Cold-Atom Frequency Standard

David R. Scherer, Robert Lutwak, Mark Mescher, Richard Stoner, Brian Timmons, Fran Rogomentich, Gary Tepolt, Sven Mahnkopf, Jay Noble, Sheng Chang, Dwayne Taylor

Abstract: Atomic clocks play a crucial role in timekeeping, communications, and navigation systems. Recent efforts enabled by heterogeneous MEMS integration have led to the commercial introduction of Chip-Scale Atomic Clocks (CSAC) with a volume of 16 cm3, power consumption of 120 mW, and instability (Allan Deviation) of ?(? = 1 sec) < 2e-10. In order to reduce the temperature sensitivity of next-generation CSACs for timing applications, the interaction of atoms with the environment must be minimized, which can be accomplished in an architecture based on trapped, laser-cooled atoms. In this paper, we present results describing the development of a miniature cold-atom apparatus for operation as a frequency standard. Our architecture is based on laser-cooling a sample of neutral atoms in a Magneto-Optical Trap (MOT) using a conical retro-reflector in a miniature vacuum chamber. Trapping the atoms in vacuum and performing microwave interrogation in the dark reduces the temperature sensitivity compared to vapor-cell CSACs. We present details of the component development associated with the laser systems, opto-electronics, and vacuum package for miniature cold-atom technology. Finally, we conclude by characterizing the optimum alkali background pressure for such a cold-atom frequency standard.
Published in: Proceedings of the 46th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
December 1 - 4, 2014
Seaport Boston Hotel
Boston, Massachusetts
Pages: 154 - 163
Cite this article: Scherer, David R., Lutwak,  Robert, Mescher, Mark, Stoner, Richard, Timmons, Brian, Rogomentich, Fran, Tepolt, Gary, Mahnkopf, Sven, Noble, Jay, Chang, Sheng, Taylor, Dwayne, "Progress on a Miniature Cold-Atom Frequency Standard," Proceedings of the 46th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, December 2014, pp. 154-163.
Full Paper: ION Members/Non-Members: 1 Download Credit
Sign In