Quantum Clocks and Atomic Sensors

The quantum clocks & atomic sensors section of EMN-Q focuses on researching atom-based quantum sensors. Due to the fundamental atomic processes employed, they provide accuracy and long-term stability for quantities such as time, length, rf-fields, temperature, magnetic fields, gravity and rotation. They also enable nanometre-size sensing, massively parallel sensing and secondary sensing, which are used for opto-mechanics or electrical currents. 

Atom-based sensors are key assets for addressing grand challenges and societal needs in several areas, such as monitoring climate variables and underground resources. They provide time, space and geodetic references, benefit geo- and space sciences and enable navigation.  

Specific examples for applications of quantum clocks and atomic sensors include:

  • Accurate EU frequency dissemination network
  • Novel gravimeters and gyroscopes based on atom interferometers
  • Certified time and time stamping distribution
  • Compact, still highly accurate frequency references in the optical and microwave domain
  • Quantum enhanced atomic sensors, e.g. by entanglement or quantum non-demolition measurement 

Projects related to Quantum Clocks and Atomic Sensors

Case Studies

Atomic clocks for satellites

Europe is launching 22 satellites as its new global positioning system Galileo expands. This will provide robust, secure location and timing signals to European users, removing reliance on other countries, and opening new markets for high performance products that require precision time and frequency signals. Satellite positioning systems rely on ...

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Transportable atomic clocks

Banks and internet companies need very accurate time and date stamps to send information and process high frequency transactions. As the technology used gets faster, greater timing precision is required. Atomic timekeeping, provided by National Measurement Institutes, supplies the highest timing accuracy, but these clocks are bulky and require very...

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Header image Quantum Clocks courtesy of INRiM.