NRC Research and Fellowship Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies

  sign in | print

RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Optical Atomic Clocks Based on Laser-Cooled Neutral Atoms


Physical Measurement Laboratory, Time and Frequency Division

opportunity location
50.68.82.C0044 Boulder, CO

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Andrew Ludlow 303-497-4972


Our research focuses on the development of optical atomic clocks based on neutral atoms. Optical clocks have recently demonstrated unprecedented precision, finding applications in quantum metrology, tests of fundamental physics, searches for dark matter, and advanced communication, navigation, and synchronization systems.  Our current research includes multiple efforts. The first is the ytterbium optical lattice clock, based on high-resolution optical spectroscopy of ultracold ytterbium confined in an optical lattice.  This experiment currently defines the state-of-the-art in atomic clock performance, and looks to push the boundaries of time and frequency measurement precision to new levels by exploiting novel techniques in quantum control and measurement of cold atom systems.  We explore new designs and implementations of optical lattice clocks and the physics that governs their operation.  A related research effort focuses on the development of new quantum technologies for making compact cold-atom-systems, for use in a portable optical lattice clock.  A third effort researches different approaches for realizing beyond-state-of-the-art laser frequency stabilization. This includes laser stabilization using ultra-low-thermal-noise optical cavities, as well as Ramsey-Borde atom interferometry with atomic calcium.  


Schioppo M, Brown RC, McGrew WF, Hinkley N, Fasano RJ, Beloy K, Yoon TH, Milani G, Nicolodi D, Sherman JA, Phillips NB, Oates CW, Ludlow AD: “Ultrastable optical clock with two cold-atom ensembles”. Nature Photonics 11: 48-52, 2017

Ludlow AD, Boyd MM, Ye J, Peik E, Schmidt PO: “Optical Atomic Clocks”. Reviews of Modern Physics 87: 637-701, 2015

Hinkley N, Sherman JA, Phillips NB, Schioppo M, Lemke ND, Beloy K, Pizzocaro M, Oates CW, Ludlow AD: “An atomic clock with 10-18 instability”. Science 341: 1215-1218, 2013


key words
Atomic clock; Atomic physics; Optical frequency standard; Laser cooling; Neutral atoms; Optical lattice; Laser stabilization; Quantum metrology; Atom interferometry; Optical cavity; Optical clock; Time and frequency metrology;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
Copyright © 2024. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Terms of Use and Privacy Policy