FIGURE 8.1 Schematic (left) and photograph (right) of a microfabricated atomic clock. The total volume of the device is less than 1 cm3, making it practical for use in handheld, battery-powered electronics. (See source for detailed image labels.) SOURCE: Reprinted, with permission, from Knappe, S., L. Liew, V. Shah, P. Schwindt, J. Moreland, L. Hollberg, and J. Kitching. 2004. A microfabricated atomic clock. Applied Physics Letters 85:1460.

also enabled the incorporation of low-cost, high-resolution imaging sensors in a broad range of consumer devices (such as cell phones and tablets). The proliferation of low-cost sensors connected by a high-bandwidth data transfer capability will enable the rapid growth of applications that would not have been economically viable without this large technology base. One example will be low-cost medical sensing devices that leverage consumer electronics components.

Since the NRC’s 1998 study, advances in octave-spanning optical combs have enabled a small table-top apparatus that provides a direct link between RF and optical frequency and time standards—apparatus that used to take several rooms full of specialized equipment. Such advances have narrowed the gap in measurement capabilities between premium laboratories with specialized equipment and those with modest funding, and this will be a game changer in advancing both basic and applied research.

Photonic measurement and application advances have enabled improvements

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement