It is not feasible to produce a compact optical clock, small enough to fly on satellites, simply by reducing the size or packaging of current laboratory systems. New approaches and component technologies are needed to achieve such an objective. Trapped ions systems used in optical space grade atomic clocks and navigation systems need mode-hop free compact ultrastable laser systems able to operate for years without power as well as frequency jumps. OEwaves Inc. offers to develop and demonstrate a compact diode laser system producing all the required wavelengths for operation of an Yb Ion Clocks. It will include 370 nm, 935 nm, 436 nm, and 760 nm lasers. The system will feature the properties required for long duration space applications. The system will be based on a semiconductor laser locked to monolithic microcavities using self-injection locking technique.
The objectives of Phase I of this SBIR project are to prepare a complete design of the compact laser system suitable for Yb ion clock. The design will be supported by numerical simulations as well as results of the earlier experiments. The design will include three major parts:
Successful development of an ultra-compact, high performance LO enabling Yb+ optical clock with long-term stability of 10-16 clock will enable a diverse set of applications: navigation, positioning, imaging, synchronization, and secure communications, both on the ground and in space, and will potentially also allow tests of fundamental physics, e.g. general relativity and the variability of the fine structure constant. An additional benefit, if not the primary driver, is to replace and improve upon the DSN hydrogen masers.
Non-NASA critical applications include global position systems (GPS) for military activities such as land, air and sea navigation and accurate positioning for a wide range of military operations. Also, the use of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) has reduced the search and rescue operations response times, increasing the survival chances of the wounded soldiers.