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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R02149X/1
Title: SLATE: Strontium Lattice for Commercial Optical Clocks
Principal Investigator: Bongs, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Singh, Professor Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 331,499
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cold atom devices for sensing and metrology are the closest to commercial exploitation. The science is for some applications highly developed and offers unquestioned performance advantages in sensitivity and some steps have been made at making more compact systems. But for genuine and widespread applications substantial improvements need to be made in size, weight and power ('SWAP') and ruggedness of these systems. The project SLATE is concerned with developing an optical lattice clock. The physics package that enables the trapping and probing of laser cooled atoms of strontium atoms is the central component for clock interrogation. Optical lattice clocks use transitions in neutral atoms as quantum frequency references to deliver timing at very high levels of accuracy. This project forms a key part of the development of a commercial strontium clock, using techniques developed in the creation of the world's most stable clocks. The project will support the nucleation of a leading industrial capability for such future atomics packages and chamber products, which will be UK based and also therefore benefit from non-ITAR status.

Our consortium of 2 partners has all of the critical expertise required to prosecute this project. It is led by the highly innovative commercial partner MSL who have a proven track record in bringing novel, state of the art technology in high quality lasers to market. University of Birmingham is leading of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, an £80M innovation project including 6 University and over 70 industry partners. As such it provides a number of technology development specialists with expertise in optical clocks, gravity sensors and simulation packages in addition to civil engineering expertise in the use of gravity sensors for underground mapping and links to potential commercial end-users.

By combining the vacuum technology with laser technology through to testing we will also be making unique steps towards a significant step down in size, power and cost requirements of any future Sr based atomic clock.

To-date these components have been developed in isolation. It is important, however, to develop systems that can integrate whilst following a similar ruggedisation and miniaturisation activities. This collaborative programme will develop a clear supply chain of UK-based technology suitable for various applications ranging from satellite-free navigation, ultra-high precision timing for financial trades and exceptionally-precise gravetometers for sub-surface detection.

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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk