Cold-atom clock based on a diffractive optic

R. Elvin, G. W. Hoth, M. Wright, B. Lewis, J. P. McGilligan, A. S. Arnold, P. F. Griffin, E. Riis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
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Clocks based on cold atoms offer unbeatable accuracy and long-term stability, but their use in portable quantum technologies is hampered by a large physical footprint. Here, we use the compact optical layout of a grating magneto-optical trap (gMOT) for a precise frequency reference. The gMOT collects 10 7 87Rb atoms, which are subsequently cooled to 20 µK in optical molasses. We optically probe the microwave atomic ground-state splitting using lin┴lin polarised coherent population trapping and a Raman-Ramsey sequence. With ballistic drop distances of only 0.5 mm, the measured short-term fractional frequency stability is 2 × 10 −11/√τ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38359-38366
Number of pages8
JournalOptics Express
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019


  • physics.atom-ph
  • cold atoms
  • quantum technologies
  • grating magneto-optical trap


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