Space-related projects

The use of ultra-precise optical clocks in space (“master clocks”) will allow for a range of new applications in the fields of fundamental physics (tests of Einstein's theory of General Relativity; time and frequency metrology by means of the comparison of distant terrestrial clocks), geophysics (mapping of the gravitational potential of Earth); and astronomy (providing local oscillators for radio ranging and interferometry in space). Within the ELIPS-3 program of ESA, the “Space Optical Clocks” (SOC) project aims to install and to operate an optical lattice clock on the ISS towards the end of this decade, as a natural follow-on to the ACES mission, improving its performance by at least one order of magnitude. The payload is planned to include an optical lattice clock, as well as a frequency comb, a microwave link, and an optical link for comparisons of the ISS clock with ground clocks located in several countries and continents. The devices will be based on trapped neutral strontium atoms. This project is embedded within a European initiative and is being coordinated by the University of Düsseldorf (Germany). Optical lattice clocks with uncertainty and instability in the 10-17 range and below have so far been demonstrated exclusively using fermions. With our SOC2 demonstrator, we demonstrate a bosonic optical lattice clock with an instability of 3x10-18 and an accuracy of 2.0x10-17, both values improving on previous work by a factor of 30.

Related projects:

  • SOC-2; Space Optical Clock – II, EC. [Link]

 

Quantum technology

One of the main focuses of our research is the translation of fundamental concepts to rugged deployable quantum sensors and the development of related supply chains. Portable optical clocks providing ultra-precise time-based solutions to various applications including high-frequency trading, communication networks, GNSS independence, and RF sensing are at the center of our activities.

Related projects:

  • Miniature Optical Lattice Clock within UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, EPSRC [Link]

  • iqClock, EU H2020. [Link]

  • QSense [Link]

 

Knowledge transfer

Besides our many academic collaborators, institutional and industrial partners participate in our projects and training networks. They help us train our young researchers, develop technological solutions to our most difficult problems, and translate our ideas into real-life applications.

Related projects:

  • GaNAMP

  • SLATE

  • DPSS

  • PLAID

Training

 

MoSaiQC – Modular Systems for Advanced Integrated Quantum Clocks

FACT – Future Atomic Clock Technologies, EU Marie Curie ITN network with 14 partners. [Link]

QTEA – Quantum Sensor Technologies and Applications, EU ITN Network. [Link]