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Joseph Achkar – the new EURAMET TC Time and Frequency chair

Joseph Achkar (LNE-SYRTE, France) started his term as chair of EURAMET’s Technical Committee (TC) for Time and Frequency at the association’s General Assembly in June 2021

In the new position, Joseph will work to further strengthen the collaboration between National Metrology Institutes and Designated Institutes, by focussing on activities related to research, comparisons and consultation. A recent example for research collaboration in the field of time & frequency is the new EMPIR joint research project on Two species composite atomic clocks.

In addition, Joseph intends to push forward the development of optical clocks and TF transfer for optical clocks with an emphasis on the time transfer by optical fibre. These projects are required by the strong need to support the redefinition of the second in the International System of Units (the SI) and the future evolution of the UTC.

The Technical Committee will further deploy efforts to develop traceability to the SI of the time broadcast by global navigation satellite systems (such as Galileo and EGNOS) to meet stakeholder needs from navigation satellite operators, accredited laboratories, and others. This endeavour will be approached by close collaboration with the BIPM and the CCTF. Finally, an internal project on the reference delay and time interval measurement could result in the development of a related guide.

Looking at EURAMET’s digital transformation advances and related initiatives of the TC-IM Working Group Metrology for Digital Transformation (M4D) Joseph comments:

“I had the opportunity to attend the workshop on harmonising digital calibration certificates and processes across EURAMET - held by M4D in February 2021 - that I found both interesting and useful for what lays ahead. In that perspective, the TC-TF would appreciate regular exchange of information with M4D members and designated experts from other TCs to jointly advance on the digital transformation path. For example, providing the outcomes and findings of the different digital events would support the TF members to further cogitate about the various facets of the digital challenge. To invoke here a basic example, my colleagues and I would be happy to collaborate on the development of a calibration software that meets the specific needs of our TC.”

Joseph stepped into the realm of scientific metrology soon after obtaining his  PhD degree in satellite telecommunications from the Université de Paris. 1991 was the year when he enrolled at the French national metrology laboratory for electricity and magnetism, becoming active in the development of 6-port vector network analysers while leading the microwave metrology group. A decade later, he joined LNE-SYRTE - the French Designated Institute for time and frequency metrology - where he was responsible for the time metrology group over 15 years. His areas of interest encompass projects related to the development, implementation and operation of two-way satellite time and frequency transfer systems, regularly exploited as the primary transfer link contributing to the International Atomic Time (TAI) and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Recently, he initiated and contributed to the development of a travelling software-defined radio (SDR) receiver used for the calibration of a UTC SDR link (BIPM 0517-2020). Since 2001, Joseph has also been involved in accreditation activities, both as technical assessor for COFRAC and OLAS, as well as a member of the French technical commission for accreditation in electricity, radiation and information technology. Currently he is chairperson of the International Telecommunication Union - Radiocommunication sector Working Party 7A.

EURAMET wishes Joseph plenty of success in his new role and extends its sincere thanks to Peter Whibberley (NPL, UK), who held the position from 2017 to 2021.


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