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Page updated at 12:43:23 PM on Monday, May 21st, 2012

TOC - Transportable Optical Clocks

Funded with €300,000.00 for 36 months (from February, 2010 to January, 2013) by Regione Toscana within POR FSE 2007-2013

Person in charge: Guglielmo Maria Tino
LENS members: Nicola Poli, Fiodor Sorrentino, Marco Tarallo

Investigation and implementation of an optical atomic clock for portable applications on the ground and in space.

Recently, thanks to advances in quantum optics, research in optics and atomic time and frequency metrology has undergone a major boost. The first optical clocks based on forbidden transitions of alkaline-earth metals and of single ions have been realized and the first comparisons in some cases have already demonstrated that performances are comparable (10-15 in relative accuracy of frequency) and in some cases higher (up at 10-17) than the current primary standard microwave cesium fountain clocks, which is the base of the current definition of the SI second.

CGI representation of an optical clock.

Besides the general interest for the redefinition of the SI second, these watches allow the creation of totally new tests of fundamental physical theories: test of General Relativity, of the existence of small variations in the time of the fundamental constants of physics (such as the fine structure constant), and so on. There is also an increasing interest in these systems within the new generation of satellite positioning systems (GPS, Galileo) and space radar for remote positioning.

The purpose of this project is exactly the study and implementation of an optical atomic clock for portable applications on the ground and in space. The activities will concern the detailed study and implementation of components of an optical atomic clock in space compatible with the operation and the definition of possible future applications. Between the various references atomic candidates for the realization of a transportable optical clock, we are focusing on the alkaline-earth metals, that present optical transitions in the visible or near infrared suitable for the preparation of the sample (laser cooling) and for spectroscopy of high resolution. These sources currently represent the best choice for the realization of transportable systems, thanks to their reliability, high efficiency, low consumption, low cost and small size.

 

Publications

Only publications with LENS-affiliated authors are listed.

  • Title:
  • A high-stability semiconductor laser system for a (88)Sr-based optical lattice clock
  • Authors:
  • Tarallo, MG Poli, N Schioppo, M Sutyrin, D Tino, GM
  • Source:
  • APPLIED PHYSICS B-LASERS AND OPTICS