Using microfabrication processes, we have been able to construct physics packages for vapour cell atomic frequency references 100x smaller than previously existing versions, with a corresponding reduction in power consumption. In addition, the devices offer the potential for wafer-level fabrication and assembly, which would substantially reduce manufacturing costs. It is anticipated that a complete frequency reference could be constructed based on these physics packages with a total volume below 1 cm3, a power dissipation near 30 mW and a fractional frequency instability below 10^-11^ over time periods from hours to days. Such a device would enable the use of atomically precise timing in applications that require battery operation and portability, such as hand-held global positioning system receivers and wireless communication systems.
Pub Type: Journals