Emergence - Emergence

Ultra Low Instability Signal Source 2nd Generation – ULISS-2G

Submission summary

The ever-increasing need for better time synchronization in number of High-Tech and scientific applications calls for the development of new frequency references of improved stability. We demonstrated recently the potentiality of a new technology based on a microwave sapphire resonator cooled in a closed-cycle cryocooler. The first cryocooled Cryogenic Sapphire Oscillator (CSO) prototype: ELISA, recently validated in the frame of a research contract of the European Space Agency (ESA) shows an exceptional relative frequency stability even competing with commercial atomic frequency standards. This unprecedented performances are associated with a large autonomy. Initially studied for specific space applications, i.e. Deep Space Network for satellites and space vehicles navigation, ELISA would provide the means to improve the resolution of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Observatories, the calibration capability of Metrological Institutes or to help the qualification of industrial high performances clocks or oscillators. Moreover such an ultra-stable oscillator can open the field to new type of fundamental Physic experiments as Local Lorentz Invariance Tests.

There is obviously a “niche market” which we can roughly estimated to be comparable to the Hydrogen Maser market, i.e. some units per year. Nevertheless, CSO cannot yet be considered as a classical product ready for an industrial production.

The project concerned by this call is a part of a voluntary economical valuation project initiated in March 2011 at the Femto-ST institute. The first step of this overall project is already funded by regional institutions (FEDER, Région de Franche-Comté, OSEO). A new CSO: ULISS specially designed to be transportable, has been built and characterized. It will be compared and tested in various laboratories and industrial companies throughout Europe. The objective is to demonstrate in the potential user’s sites the performances of this new technology and to better understand the needs associated with each specific application. The European journey has already begun. ULISS has been successfully transported to University of Neuchâtel, where it permitted to qualify a stabilized femtosecond laser and the measurement of ultra-stable quartz oscillator industrial prototypes.

The ULISS-2G project is aimed to strengthen the basis for the creation of a spin-off. Its objectives are:
-To achieve technical improvements needed to drastically decrease the electrical consumption, which still remains a limitation to the CSO technology deployment.
- A better Control of the key technologies
- A strengthening of the Intellectual Property

Project coordination

Vincent GIORDANO (Franche-Comté Electronique, Mécanique, Thermique et Optique - Sciences et Technologies) – giordano@femto-st.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


DVUFC Direction de la Valorisation de l"Université de Franche-Comté
FEMTO-ST Franche-Comté Electronique, Mécanique, Thermique et Optique - Sciences et Technologies

Help of the ANR 280,799 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2012 - 24 Months

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