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Microfabricated atomic frequency references



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


Using microfabrication processes, we have been able to construct physics packages for vapour cell atomic frequency references 100¿ 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 30mW 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.


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


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 July 23, 2024)


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Created June 7, 2005, Updated February 17, 2017