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Characterization of a cold cesium source for PARCS: Primary Atomic Reference Clock in Space

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7 Author(s)
Heavner, T.P. ; Time & Frequency Div., Nat. Inst. of Stand. & Technol., Boulder, CO, USA ; Hollberg, L. ; Jefferts, S.R. ; Kitching, J.
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The Primary Atomic Reference Clock in Space (PARCS) project is a joint NIST-JPL-University of Colorado venture aimed at placing a Cs atomic clock aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This orbiting clock will achieve high accuracy, in part due to the long Ramsey times afforded by the microgravity environment, and allow for precision tests of fundamental physics including relativity theory. As part of this effort, we are evaluating the characteristics of a prototype cold Cs source based on launching atoms from an optical molasses. Experimental results, in conjunction with theoretical modeling of atom flux requirements, will be applied to the design and construction of a robust, space-qualified device. The apparatus described here will be used to develop other PARCS components such as the microwave cavity structure and detection systems, and to investigate two-dimensional cooling schemes for future Cs fountains and space clocks

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Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 2 )