Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Microfabricated Atomic Frequency References



John Kitching, Svenja A. Knappe, Li-Anne Liew, John M. Moreland, Peter D. Schwindt, V Shah, V Gerginov, Leo W. Hollberg


Using microfabrication processes, we have been able to construct physics packages for vapour cell atomic frequency references 100x smaller than previously existing versions, with a corresponding reduction in power consumption. In addition, the devices offer the potential for wafer-level fabrication and assembly, which would substantially reduce manufacturing costs. It is anticipated that a complete frequency reference could be constructed based on these physics packages with a total volume below 1 cm3, a power dissipation near 30 mW and a fractional frequency instability below 10^-11^ over time periods from hours to days. Such a device would enable the use of atomically precise timing in applications that require battery operation and portability, such as hand-held global positioning system receivers and wireless communication systems.


Kitching, J. , Knappe, S. , Liew, L. , Moreland, J. , Schwindt, P. , Shah, V. , Gerginov, V. and Hollberg, L. (2005), Microfabricated Atomic Frequency References, Metrologia, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created July 31, 2005, Updated October 12, 2021