A Cold-Atom Beam Clock, based on Coherent Population Trapping
John D. Elgin, Thomas P. Heavner, John E. Kitching, Elizabeth A. Donley, Jayson Denney, Evan Salim
We present results from a novel atomic clock which employs a beam of cold 87 Rb atoms and spatially separated (Ramsey) coherent population trapping interrogation of the hyperfine clock transition at 6.834 GHz. The cold atomic beam is generated through the use of a 2D+-MOT. The interrogation is performed on the D2 line of 87 Rb, and the optical fields use a counter- propagating sigma_+ - sigma_- probing scheme. The use of cold atoms allows for relatively narrow Ramsey fringes even for a small spatial separation between the two interrogation zones (4.6 cm). The resulting clock has a short-term stability of 3E-11.