The ESA mission “Space Optical Clock” project aims at operating an optical lattice clock on the ISS in approximately 2023. The scientific goals of the mission are to perform tests of fundamental physics, to enable space-assisted relativistic geodesy and to intercompare optical clocks on the ground using microwave and optical links. The performance goal of the space clock is less than 1 × 10-17 uncertainty and 1 × 10-15 τ-1/2 instability. Within an EU-FP7-funded project, a strontium optical lattice clock demonstrator has been developed. Goal performances are instability below 1 × 10-15 τ-1/2 and fractional inaccuracy 5 × 10-17. For the design of the clock, techniques and approaches suitable for later space application are used, such as modular design, diode lasers, low power consumption subunits, and compact dimensions. The Sr clock apparatus is fully operational, and the clock transition in 88Sr was observed with linewidth as small as 9 Hz.
S. Origlia, S. Schiller, M. S. Pramod, L. Smith, Y. Singh, W. He, S. Viswam, D. Świerad, J. Hughes, K. Bongs, U. Sterr, Ch. Lisdat, S. Vogt, S. Bize, J. Lodewyck, R. Le Targat, D. Holleville, B. Venon, P. Gill, G. Barwood, I. R. Hill, Y. Ovchinnikov, A. Kulosa, W. Ertmer, E.-M. Rasel, J. Stuhler, and W. Kaenders, "Development of a strontium optical lattice clock for the SOC mission on the ISS," Proc. SPIE 9900, Quantum Optics, 990003 (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 05, 2016; Published: 29 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2229473.
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