Matchbox-sized atomic clock for commercial space


applications, the device provides the accuracy and stability of atomic clock technology while achieving significant breakthroughs in reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption.

Called SA.45s, it draws less than 120mW and fits in 17cm3 (41 x 35 x 12mm), with mass <35g.

Radiation tolerance is to 20krad and single-event latch-up (SEL) and single event upset (SEU) are tested to 64Mev/cm2/mg)

The firm brands it atomic clocks ‘CSAC’ for chip-scale atomic clock.

“With the introduction of the commercial space CSAC, we now offer a space-deployable atomic precision clock reference with radiation tolerance in support of the space market’s desire to reduce mission costs and design times using COTS devices,” said Peter Cash, director of the clock business unit at Microsemi. “As the first atomic reference clock with low SWaP available for space, our device is well-suited to applications requiring precise clock synchronisation, including a variety of existing and emerging LEO applications.”
(COTS = commercial off-the-shelf, SWaP = size weight and power).

Short-term stability (Allan Deviation) is 3.0 x 10-10 (at TAU = 1s) and frequency stability across temperature range is <5 x 10-10, plus there is a built-in 1 pulse per second input for GPS disciplining, “making the device well-suited for holdover applications,” said Microsemi, which also sees it being used in: satellite timing and frequency control, satellite cross linking, ‘assured position, navigation and timing’ and Earth observation.

The main output is a CMOS-compatible squarewave at 10MHz. A CMOS-level RS-232 serial interface is built-in for control, calibration and status indication, and through the RS-232 can be read the internal time-of-day clock.

The part is available now.

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