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We report our recent progress made with the NRC 88Sr+ single-ion optical frequency standard. The long-term operation of the standard was improved by actively stabilizing the cooling, repump and clearout laser sources, and by using a femtosecond fiber laser frequency comb to link the probe laser frequency to the microwave time standards. With the femtosecond fiber comb, we have demonstrated continuous operation for a period of eight days and continuous measurement of the probe laser source for three days. Micromotion shifts have been the dominant source of uncertainty in our rf Paul trap because laser beam access is only possible along one axis in the current design. With the aim of reducing to a minimum these shifts, we have constructed an endcap trap designed for minimization of micromotion along three orthogonal axes. We report on the successful trapping of single ions with this endcap trap. Since electrode contamination during trap loading can also induce micromotion shifts as a result of evolving patch potentials, we have increased the trap loading efficiency with photo-ionization.
Date of Conference: 1-4 June 2010