Ultra-stable clock laser system development towards space applications

Yeshpal Singh, Kai Bongs, Dariusz Swierad, Sebastian Häfner, Stefan Vogt, Christian Lisdat, Uwe Sterr, Sébastien Bize, Jérôme Lodewyck, Rodolphe Le Targat, Ernst Maria Rasel, André Kulosa, Sebastian Bode, David Holleville, Bertrand Venon

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The increasing performance of optical lattice clocks has made them attractive for scientific applications in space and thus has pushed the development of their components including the interrogation lasers of the clock transitions towards being suitable for space, which amongst others requires making them more power efficient, radiation hardened, smaller, lighter as well as more mechanically stable. Here we present the development towards a space-compatible interrogation laser system for a strontium lattice clock constructed within the Space Optical Clock (SOC2) project where we have concentrated on mechanical rigidity and size. The laser reaches a fractional frequency instability of 7.9 × 10^(−16) at 300 ms averaging time. The laser system uses a single extended cavity diode laser that gives enough power for interrogating the atoms, frequency comparison by a frequency comb and diagnostics. It includes fibre link stabilisation to the atomic package and to the comb. The optics module containing the laser has dimensions 60 × 45 × 8 cm3; and the ultra-stable reference cavity used for frequency stabilisation with its vacuum system takes 30 × 30 × 30 cm3. The acceleration sensitivities in three orthogonal directions of the cavity are 3.6 × 10^(−10)/g, 5.8 × 10^(−10)/g and 3.1 × 10^(−10)/g, where g ≈ 9.8 m/s2 is the standard gravitational acceleration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number33973
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date26 Sept 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Sept 2016


  • Optical Clock
  • Optical resonators
  • space
  • Cold atoms


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