The ac-Stark shift (or light shift) is a fundamental aspect of the field/atom interaction arising from virtual transitions between atomic states, and as Alfred Kastler noted, it is the real-photon counterpart of the Lamb shift. In the rubidium atomic frequency standards (RAFS) flying on Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, it plays an important role as one of the major perturbations defining the RAFS' frequency: the rf-discharge lamp in the RAFS creates an atomic signal via optical pumping and simultaneously perturbs the atoms' ground-state hyperfine splitting via the light shift. Though the significance of the light shift has been known for decades, to date there has been no concrete evidence that it limits the performance of the high-quality RAFS flying on GPS satellites. Here, we show that the long-term frequency stability of GPS RAFS is primarily determined by the light shift as a consequence of stochastic jumps in lamplight intensity. Our results suggest three paths forward for improved GPS system timekeeping: (1) reduce the light-shift coefficient of the RAFS by careful control of the lamp's spectrum; (2) operate the lamp under conditions where lamplight jumps are not so pronounced; and (3) employ a light source for optical pumping that does not suffer pronounced light jumps (e.g., a diode laser).
|Titolo:||Influence of the ac-Stark shift on GPS atomic clock timekeeping|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|