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The UK National Physics Laboratory develops ultra stable lasers and optical clocks

Author:QINSUN Released in:2023-12 Click:46

According to the website of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK, NPL, the UK Space Agency (UKSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA) are developing ultra stable lasers and optical clocks for future space missions to improve navigation and timing. The patented cubic cavity design of NPL makes the frequency stability of the optical cavity highly insensitive to vibration and has unique robustness, which can reduce the spectral line width of commercial laser systems from a few MHz to below 1 Hz. This provides an ultra stable laser that can serve as both an independent frequency reference and a sub component of an optical atomic clock.

This type of optical atomic clock and ultra stable laser technology has great application prospects in future science (basic physics and cosmology), Earth observation (relativistic geodesy), and navigation (future global navigation satellite systems) programs.

In the next generation gravity mission of NASA/ESA, the cubic cavity of NPL can be used to measure the Earth's gravity field as a function of the Earth's surface position. In polar regions, this technology can more accurately monitor glacier changes than previous GRACE and GOCE missions. In the future NASA/ESA 2030 laser interferometer space antenna (LISA) mission, it can serve as a reference for measuring gravitational waves in space.