AFRL/RITQ - Atomic Clocks & Timing

ATOMIC CLOCKS & TIMING

AFRL’s Quantum Sensing & Timing (QST) group looks into the development of advanced atomic clocks to further improve time measurements and investigates ways to use and distribute the precise time.

WHAT TIME DO YOU HAVE?

Our team is developing the next generation of clocks with enhanced stability and techniques to transmit time synchronization precisely across distant platforms.

Precise timekeeping is the backbone of modern telecommunications, banking technologies, and navigation systems. The most stable and precise clocks on the planet can keep time without losing a single second over the age of the universe.

However, advanced quantum clocks are often large and power hungry, which has kept them confined to laboratory environments. We are developing technologies that will reduce the size and complexity of advanced clocks while also refining techniques to more accurately transfer time in real-world environments.

CLICK HERE to visit our other quantum labs.


GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL
Dr. John Elgin, AFRL Research Physicist / QST Deputy Group Lead / Quantum Timing Lead
Dr. Joanna Hinks, AFRL Research Physicist / NTS-3 Principal Investigator
1Lt. Tyler Wright, AFRL Air Force, Officer / QST Group Deputy Lead

CONTRACT PERSONNEL
Dr. Holly Leopardi, Space Dynamics Laboratory Research Physicist
Dr. Benjamin Stuhl, Space Dynamics Laboratory Research Physicist
Dr. Matthew Bigelow, Applied Technology Associates Research Physicist
Dr. Kyle Martin, Applied Technoloy Associates Research Physicist
Dr. Alexandre, De Pinho E Braga Applied Technology Associates Research Physicist
Mr. River Beard, Applied Technoloy Associates Engineer
Mr. Seth Erickson, SMART Scholar, University of Arizona Ph.D. student

PATENTS

  • Burke, J., Lemke, N., Stuhl B. K., Phelps, G., Martin, K., "Optical Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard." Patent Number 10684591

  • Erickson C., Lemke, N., Armstrong J., Martin K.W., ”Vapor cell heating assembly." Patent number 10509370

  • Erickson C., Lemke, N., Armstrong J., Martin K.W., Method for manufacturing a vapor cell for alkaline-earth-like atoms inside a ultrahigh vacuum chamber."  Patent number 10509369

PUBLICATIONS

  • Benjamin Stuhl.  Atmospheric refraction corrections in ground-to-satellite optical time transfer. Approved for publication in Optics Express, 2021.

  • Kyle W Martin, Benjamin Stuhl, Jon Eugenio, Marianna S. Safronova, Gretchen Phelps, John H. Burke, and Nathan D. Lemke. Frequency shifts due to stark effects on a Rb two-photon transition. arXiv:1907.10805, 2019. Approved for publication in Physical Review A 

  • Kyle W. Martin, Gretchen Phelps, Nathan D. Lemke, Matthew S. Bigelow, Benjamin Stuhl, Michael Wojcik, Michael Holt, Ian Coddington, Michael W. Bishop, and John H. Burke. Compact optical atomic clock based on a two-photon transition in rubidium. Phys. Rev. Applied, 9:014019, Jan 2018

  • G. R. Phelps, N. D. Lemke, Martin K. W., C. J. Erickson, and J. H. Burke. Compact optical clock with 5 × 10 −13 instability at 1 s. Navigation, 2018

CONFERENCE PRECEEDINGS

  • Matthew S. Bigelow, Rafe Guidice, Kyle Martin, Andrew J. Metcalf, and Nathan Lemke. Free-space optical time transfer between an atomic frequency standard and a simple optical clock. In Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, page STh3G.1. Optical Society of America, 2019

  • Matthew S. Bigelow, Kyle W. Martin, Gretchen Phelps, and Nathan D. Lemke. A high performance clock laser for two-photon frequency stabilized optical clocks. In Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, page JW2A.163. Optical Society of America, 2018

  • Martin K. W., G. Phelps, N. Lemke, J. H. Burke, and B. Stuhl. The optical stark shift on a two-photon transistion in rubidium. IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS), 2018

  • N. Lemke, Martin K. W., and J. Jackson. High-temperature calcium vapor cell construction and spectroscopy. Joint Conference of the European Frequency and Time Forum and IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium (EFTF/IFCS), 2017 

  • N. Lemke, G. Phelps, J. H. Burke, Martin K. W., and M. S. Bigelow. The optical rubidium atomic frequency standard at afrl. Joint Conference of the European Frequency and Time Forum and IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium (EFTF/IFCS), 2017 

  • Jordan L. Armstrong, Nathan D. Lemke, Kyle W. Martin, and Christopher J. Erickson. Thermal design of high temperature alkaline-earth vapor cells. Proc. SPIE, 9763:976303–976303–4, 2016

  • J. L. Armstrong, N. D. Lemke, Martin K. W., and C. J. Erickson. Robust optical clocks based on alkaline-earth vapor cells. Proceedings of the 47th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, 2016 

  • John H. Burke, Nathan D. Lemke, Gretchen R. Phelps, and Kyle W. Martin. A compact, high-performance all optical atomic clock based on telecom lasers. volume 9763, pages 976304–976304–6, 2016 

  • G. R. Phelps, N. D. Lemke, Martin K. W., C. J. Erickson, and J. H. Burke. A compact optical rubidium atomic frequency standard. In Proceedings of the 47th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, 2016