PostHeaderIcon MuClock

Muquans MuClockThis product is the first and only commercially available atomic clock based on ultra-cold atoms in the world.  This unique solution is the result of more than 15 years of experience acquired by our academic partner, LNE-SYRTE, one of the major international experts in the field of time standards.

The approach developed by Muquans relies on laser manipulation of cold atoms. We are able to produce more than 10 times per second a dense atomic cloud showing an exceptional stability over time, quasi-independently of external conditions. This unique atomic medium allows us to perform spectroscopy measurements with an exceptionally high signal-to-noise ratio, over extremely long periods of time. Therefore, this approach enables the MuClock to offer exceptional performances in terms of both short and long-term stability, as well as accuracy.

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Principle of operation

The basic principle of the MuClock is very similar to the one utilized in the atomic fountains for the definition of the Atomic International Time. However, instead of launching a cloud of cold atoms through a microwave cavity where the atoms are interrogated, the preparation of the cold atomic sample is done inside the microwave cavity. This preparation phase is thus quickly followed by the interrogation of the atoms, which allows to perform measurements with a high repetition frequency, higher than 10 Hz. With this approach, we therefore obtain performances close to atomic fountains with a very significant weight reduction and increase in compacity.

A typical measurement sequence is organized as follows:
First, atoms are cooled in the vacuum chamber with lasers down to a temperature of a few µK.
All laser beams are shut down, then the atoms undergo Ramsey interrogation in the microwave cavity.
Characterization of the clock transition signal through a laser absorption measurement. This signal allows us to precisely determine the clock frequency, which for rubidium atoms is close to 6.834 682 612 Ghz. This atomic signal is used to lock the local oscillator of the MuClock in order to guarantee its long-term stability and accuracy.


Specifications

Stability1

1 s 2.2 10-13
10 s 7.0 10-14
100 s
2.0 10-14
1 000 s
7.0 10-15
Floor < 4.0 10-15 (@ 5 000 s)


Phase noise

Offset (Hz)
5MHz Output
1 -122 dBc
10 -140 dBc
100
-150 dBc
1,000
-155 dBc
10,000
-155 dBc
100,000 -155 dBc


Accuracy

High predictability: low floor noise and accuracy of a few 10-15 expected2


Available outputs

Output frequencies: 5, 10 and 100 MHz      
Synchronization options: PPS input & output


Power

Operating power 200 W
Peak power
250 W


Dimensions/weight

Height 120 cm
Width
51 cm
Depth
40 cm
Weight 75 kg


1. Esnault et al, Proceedings of the IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium, 381-385 (2008)
2. Esnault et al, Advances in Space Research 47, 854-858 (2011)


Applications

Time metrology and calibration
Telecommunications
Global Navigation Satellite Systems & radionavigation