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Incorporating an Optical Clock into a Time Scale at NIST: Simulations and Preliminary Real-Data Analysis



Jian Yao, Jeffrey A. Sherman, Tara M. Fortier, Thomas E. Parker, Judah Levine, Joshua J. Savory, Stefania Romisch, William F. McGrew, Robert J. Fasano, Stefan A. Schaeffer, Kyle P. Beloy, Andrew D. Ludlow


This paper shows the recent NIST work on incorporating an optical clock into a time scale. We simulate a time scale composed of continuously-operating commercial hydrogen masers and an optical frequency standard that does not operate continuously as a clock. The simulations indicate that to achieve the same performance of a continuously-operating Cs-fountain time scale, it is necessary to run an optical clock 12 min per half a day, or 1 hour per day, or 4 hours per 2.33 day, or 12 hours per week. Following the simulations, the Yb optical clock at NIST were often operated on each weekday, in 2017 March – April and in 2017 October - December. The operation time ranges from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the experimental arrangements. This paper analyzes these real data preliminarily, and discusses the results and possible problems. More data are needed to come up with a conclusion.
Conference Dates
January 29-February 1, 0018
Conference Location
Reston, VA
Conference Title
Precise Time and Time Interval Meeting


Cs fountain, hydrogen maser, Kalman filter, optical clock, Time scale


Yao, J. , Sherman, J. , Fortier, T. , Parker, T. , Levine, J. , Savory, J. , Romisch, S. , McGrew, W. , Fasano, R. , Schaeffer, S. , Beloy, K. and Ludlow, A. (2018), Incorporating an Optical Clock into a Time Scale at NIST: Simulations and Preliminary Real-Data Analysis, Precise Time and Time Interval Meeting, Reston, VA, [online], (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created March 29, 2018, Updated February 1, 2019