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Home > News > Industry News > Government project aims at ato.....

Government project aims at atomic clock production in the UK

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-09-22
A government-funded research project to develop semiconductor lasers for the design of miniature atomic clocks (MacV) has received new funding.

Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) in Cardiff leads the £705,000 project, which also involves CST Global, the Glasgow-based III-V opto-electronic, semiconductor foundry and Cardiff University and the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington.

The aim of the project is to develop a miniature quantum atomic clock which can be mass-produced.

Iain Eddie, Project Engineer at CST Global, which has recently received a government research grant of £202,056, writes:

“Atomic clocks track time by measuring the vibration of an atom, hence the accuracy. The MacV quantum atomic clock will use a Caesium ion, which vibrates at a very stable frequency when excited by light of the correct wavelength.”

This involves the development of a commercially viable, single mode VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) producing light at a wavelength of 894nm, which matches the resonance of the Caesium ion.

The MacV project is initially aimed at magnetic sensing applications and communications where the GPS timing signal is not available, such as military and underwater applications.

However, it could be applied in other data transmission applications, as knowing when data is transmitted, to atomic clock accuracy, makes subsequent decryption more efficient and secure.