Development of a strontium optical lattice clock for the SOC mission on the ISS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Lyndsie Smith
  • Wei He
  • Ole Kock
  • Dariusz Swierad
  • S. Schiller
  • S. Alighanbari
  • S. Origlia
  • S. Vogt
  • U. Sterr
  • Christian Lisdat
  • R. Le Targat
  • J. Lodewyck
  • D. Holleville
  • B. Venon
  • S. Bize
  • G. P. Barwood
  • Patrick Gill
  • I. R. Hill
  • Y. B. Ovchinnikov
  • N. Poli
  • G. M. Tino
  • J. Stuhler
  • W. Kaenders
  • the SOC2 team

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Birmingham


Ultra-precise optical clocks in space will allow new studies in fundamental physics and astronomy. Within an European Space Agency (ESA) program, the Space Optical Clocks (SOC) project aims to install and to operate an optical lattice clock on the International Space Station (ISS) towards the end of this decade. It would be a natural follow-on to the ACES mission, improving its performance by at least one order of magnitude. The payload is planned to include an optical lattice clock, as well as a frequency comb, a microwave link, and an optical link for comparisons of the ISS clock with ground clocks located in several countries and continents. Within the EU-FP7-SPACE-2010-1 project no. 263500, during the years 2011-2015 a compact, modular and robust strontium lattice optical clock demonstrator has been developed. Goal performance is a fractional frequency instability below 1x10^{-15}, tau^{-1/2} and a fractional inaccuracy below 5x10^{-17}. Here we describe the current status of the apparatus' development, including the laser subsystems. Robust preparation of cold {88}^Sr atoms in a second stage magneto-optical trap (MOT) is achieved.

Bibliographic note

27 Pages, 15 figures, Comptes Rendus Physique 2015


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-564
JournalComptes Rendus Physique
Issue number5
Early online date15 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • physics.atom-ph, quant-ph