Abstract

We report on the performance of the first table-top prototype atomic clock based on coherent population trapping (CPT) resonances with parallel linearly polarized optical fields (linlin configuration). Our apparatus uses a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) tuned to the D1 line of Rb87 with the current modulation at the Rb87 hyperfine frequency. We demonstrate cancellation of the first-order light shift by the proper choice of rf modulation power and further improve our prototype clock stability by optimizing the parameters of the microwave lock loop. Operating in these optimal conditions, we measured a short-term fractional frequency stability (Allan deviation) 2×1011τ12 for observation times 1sτ20s. This value is limited by large VCSEL phase noise and environmental temperature fluctuation. Further improvements in frequency stability should be possible with an apparatus designed as a dedicated linlin CPT resonance clock with environmental impacts minimized.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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