Femtosecond Optical Two-Way Time-Frequency Transfer in the Presence of Motion

Published: February 22, 2019


Laura C. Sinclair, Hugo Bergeron, William C. Swann, Isaac H. Khader, Kevin C. Cossel, Michael A. Cermak, Nathan R. Newbury, Jean-Daniel Deschenes


Platform motion poses significant challenges to high-precision optical time and frequency transfer. We give a detailed description of these challenges and their solutions in comb-based optical two-way time and frequency transfer (O-TWTFT). Specifically, we discuss the breakdown in reciprocity due to relativity and due to asynchronous sampling, the impact of optical and electrical dispersion, and velocity-dependent transceiver calibration. We present a detailed derivation of the equations governing comb-based O-TWTFT in the presence of motion. We describe the implementation of real-time signal processing algorithms based on these equations and demonstrate active synchronization of two sites over turbulent air paths to below a femtosecond time deviation despite effective velocities of 25 m/s, which is the maximum achievable velocity with our physical setup. With the implementation of the time transfer equation derived here, we find no velocity-dependent bias between the synchronized clocks to within the statistical uncertainty of 330 attoseconds.
Citation: Physical Review A
Pub Type: Journals


time transfer, optical clocks, optical two-way time-frequency transfer, frequency combs
Created February 22, 2019, Updated September 04, 2019