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Microfabricated Atomic Clocks



John E. Kitching, Svenja A. Knappe, Li-Anne Liew, P Schwindt, V Shah, John M. Moreland, Leo W. Hollberg


We describe recent progress at NIST in the development of compact, low-power atomic frequency references based on microfabrication processes. The physics packages of these frequency references have a volume near 10 cm3, require less than 100 mW of power to operate and achieve a fractional frequency instability near 10-10 at one hour of integration. It is anticipated that a complete frequency reference could be constructed based on this type of physics package with a total volume below 1 cm3, a power dissipation near 30 mW and a fractional frequency instability below 10-11 at one hour of integration. Such a device would enable the use of atomically precise timing in applications that require battery operation and portability such as hand-held GPS receivers and wireless communication systems.


atomic clock, atomic frequency reference, coherent population trapping, MEMS, micromachining


Kitching, J. , Knappe, S. , Liew, L. , Schwindt, P. , Shah, V. , Moreland, J. and Hollberg, L. (2005), Microfabricated Atomic Clocks, Metrologia (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created January 1, 2005, Updated February 17, 2017