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Coherent optical clock down-conversion for microwave frequencies with 10−18 instability

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Science  22 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6493, pp. 889-892
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb2473

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Good timing for microwave technology

Timing standards around the world define the second using atomic clocks, specifically the microwave frequencies emitted from trapped atoms. Optical clocks, which are based on optical transitions of atoms, operate at much higher frequency and have been shown to exhibit better stability. Nakamura et al. demonstrate a framework that carries the improved stability of the optical domain over to microwaves (see the Perspective by Curtis). In addition to contributing to the eventual redefinition of the second based on optical clocks, this work will also lead to improvements in microwave-based technologies such as astronomical imaging and geodesy through very long baseline interferometry, radar, communications, and navigation systems.

Science, this issue p. 889; see also p. 825

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