The Lowest-Power Atomic Clock

June 15, 2023
At IMS, Microchip Technology tested and compared measurements between a miniature atomic clock and a chip-scale atomic clock using its 53100A phase-noise analyzer.

This video is part of our IMS 2023 coverage.

The video transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Today, we have a nice demo of the world's lowest-power atomic clock, the chip-scale atomic clock (CSAC), and we're measuring it using Microchip Technology’s 53100A phase-noise analyzer. As a reference for this measurement, we're using a rubidium oscillator, the miniature atomic clock.

We have a GUI running, called TimeLab, and this is acquiring data in real-time of the frequency drift of the CSAC versus the miniature atomic clock. This is displaying the measurement from the 53100A. Here is phase noise, and you can see it's demonstrating a measurement from 0.1-Hz to 1-MHz frequency offset, and it's simultaneously acquiring phase-difference and frequency-difference measurements.

It also shows the frequency-difference plot and Allan Deviation plot. It has basically anything you would need to quantify an oscillator and has all the stability of metrics being acquired in real-time.

There’s another GUI we call Clockstudio, a free software program developed by Microchip. It’s telling us information about the clock performance on board, like the temperature, voltage, and all sorts of other important information for designing in your atomic clocks.

Check out more of our IMS 2023 coverage.

About the Author

Alix Paultre | Editor-at-Large, Microwaves & RF

Alix is Editor-at-Large for Microwaves & RF

An Army veteran, Alix Paultre was a signals intelligence soldier on the East/West German border in the early ‘80s, and eventually wound up helping launch and run a publication on consumer electronics for the U.S. military stationed in Europe. Alix first began in this industry in 1998 at Electronic Products magazine, and since then has worked for a variety of publications, most recently as Editor-in-Chief of Power Systems Design.

Alix currently lives in Wiesbaden, Germany.

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