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Comparison between frequency standards in Europe and the USA at the 10−15uncertainty level



Joseph Achkar, Andreas Bauch, R Dach, R Hlavac, Luca Lorini, Thomas E. Parker, G. Petit, Dirk Piester, P Uhrich, K Szymaniec


Istituto Elettrotecnico Nazionale Galileo Ferraris (IEN), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Laboratoire National de Metrologie et de Essais?Observatoire de Paris/Systemes de Reference Temps Espace (OP) and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) operate cold-atom based primary frequency standards which are capable of realizing the SI second with a relative uncertainty of 1 ? 10−15 or even below. These institutes performed an intense comparison campaign of selected frequency references maintained in their laboratories during about 25 days in October/November 2004. Active hydrogen maser reference standards served as frequency references for the institutes? fountain frequency standards. Three techniques of frequency (and time) comparisons were employed. Two-way satellite time and frequency transfer (TWSTFT) was performed in an intensified measurement schedule of 12 equally spaced measurements per day. The data of dual-frequency geodetic Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers were processed to yield an ionosphere-free linear combination of the code observations from both GPS frequencies, typically referred to as GPS TAI P3 analysis. Last but not least, the same GPS raw data were separately processed, allowing GPS carrier-phase (GPS CP) based frequency comparisons to be made. These showed the lowest relative frequency instability at short averaging times of all the methods. The instability was at the level of 1 part in 1015 at one-day averaging time using TWSTFT and GPS CP. The GPS TAI P3 analysis is capable of giving a similar quality of data after averaging over two days or longer. All techniques provided the same mean frequency difference between the standards involved within the 1σ measurement uncertainty of a few parts in 1016. The frequency differences between the three fountains of IEN (IEN-CsF1), NPL (NPL-CsF1) and OP (OP-FO2) were evaluated. Differences lower than the 1ς measurement uncertainty were observed between NPL and OP, whereas the IEN fountain deviated by about 2ς from the other two fountains.


primary standard, time, time scale, time transfer


Achkar, J. , Bauch, A. , Dach, R. , Hlavac, R. , Lorini, L. , Parker, T. , Petit, G. , Piester, D. , Uhrich, P. and Szymaniec, K. (2006), Comparison between frequency standards in Europe and the USA at the 10<sup>&#8722;15</sup>uncertainty level, Metrologia, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created February 1, 2006, Updated February 17, 2017