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CST Global to Lead HELCATS Initatiative to Enable Miniaturized Atomic Clocks

Photonics Spectra
May 2018
GLASGOW, Scotland — CST Global will lead the high-power, phosphorous-based distributed feedback lasers for cold atom systems (HELCATS) project to enable miniaturized atomic clock systems using strontium ions.

Atomic clocks are critical in determining position in navigation and defense applications, as well as powering next-generation telecommunications systems.

“Currently, there are no commercially available semiconductor lasers developed for use in miniature strontium atomic clock applications,” said Olek Kowalski, research engineer at CST Global and project leader. “The strontium atomic clock system we are targeting requires four phosphorous-based, GaAs-distributed feedback laser sources operating between 690 to 710 nm.”

CST Global is working with National Physical Laboratory Ltd. and the University of Glasgow on the £497,574 ($700,000) project. Of the £396,441 ($558,000) HELCATS was granted in government funding, CST Global received £151,699 ($213,000). The project will run until February 2019.

“We will use a low-loss, waveguide approach to enable narrow emission linewidths and photonic integration for on-chip manufacturing of separate distributed feedback lasers and amplifier elements,” Kowalski said. “This design will not only help reduce the size, weight and cost of the quantum clock light sources, but also improve reliability and output power. We are expecting a 10,000-fold improvement in accuracy when compared to current systems.”

CST Global develops, manufactures and sells chips, components, modules and subsystems based on proprietary advanced semiconductor technology in microwave, mm-wave and optical semiconductors.

BusinessCST GloballasersHELCATShigh-power phosphorous-baseddistributed feedback lasers for cold atom systemsatomic clockEuropelight speed

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