Atomic clocks are an essential part of the digital infrastructure for the accurate timing and synchronization of signals. The aim of this project is to build a small footprint cold-atom frequency standard (clock) with short- and long-term stability give a local timescale with residual deviation from UTC time of less than a nanosecond over several weeks. This mini-fountain clock is expected to find commercial applications in telecommunication, research and defence. The novel design of compact optical system could also be used for applications of atomic physics, including matter-wave interferometers.
The key subsystems of the clock to be developed include: a miniaturised fountain, a novel optical layout, and electronics for control and data acquisition. The PhD candidate will have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of experimental atomic physics techniques, such as ultra-high vacuum, narrowband lasers, microwave electronics, automated data acquisition, advanced statistical analysis and more. New research results, e.g. on cold-atom detection and all-fibre optics, will be published in physics journals and presented at international conferences. The project will train the candidate in working practices applicable to many other advanced research and development environments. The experimental work will be carried out at National Physical Laboratory in Teddington with access to their precise timing infrastructure, engineering services, IT support etc. There are many other graduate students carrying out doctoral research projects at NPL and the laboratory provides excellent working environment, with a high level of facilities and support.
This studentship will be jointly supervised by Dr. Krzysztof Szymaniec ([email protected]) and Prof. Christopher Foot ([email protected]). Please contact us for more information.
The studentship is an EPSRC iCASE award intended for EEA applicants.