- Conference date: 25-30 July 2004
- Location: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
This paper describes the work performed at BNM‐SYRTE (Observatoire de Paris) over the past few years toward the improvement and the use of microwave frequency standards using laser‐cooled atoms. First, recent improvements of the 133Cs and 87Rb atomic fountains are described. An important advance is the achievement of a fractional frequency instability of 1.6 × 10−14τ−1/2 where τ is the measurement time in seconds, thanks to the routine use of a cryogenic sapphire oscillator as an ultra‐stable local frequency reference. The second advance is a powerful method to control the frequency shift due to cold collisions. These two advances lead to a frequency stability of 2 × 10−16 at 50 000 s for the first time for primary standards. In addition, these clocks realize the SI second with an accuracy of 7 × 10−16, one order of magnitude below that of uncooled devices.
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