CST Global receives £151,699 of government funding for the ‘HELCATS’, atomic clock project.


19 February 2018

CST Global will lead the HELCATS, (High-power, phosphorous-based, DFB lasers for cold atom systems) project, from its facility in Blantyre, Glasgow. The HELCATS project will enable miniaturized atomic clock systems using Strontium ions. Atomic clocks are critical in determining position in navigation and defence applications and core to powering next-generation, telecommunications systems.

The HELCATS project will be led by Dr. Olek Kowalski, Research Engineer at CST Global. Olek explained, “Currently, there are no commercially-available, semiconductor lasers developed for use in miniature Strontium Atomic Clock applications. The Strontium atomic clock system we are targeting requires four, phosphorous-based, GaAs DFB laser sources, operating between 690 to 710nm.”

“We will use a low-loss, waveguide approach to enable narrow emission linewidths and photonic integration for on-chip manufacturing of separate DFB and amplifier elements. This design will not only help reduce the size, weight and cost of the quantum clock light sources, but also improve reliability and output power. We are expecting a 10,000-fold improvement in accuracy when compared to current systems.”

CST Global is working with research partner, National Physical Laboratory Ltd. and academic partner, the University of Glasgow on the project. The HELCATS project will cost a total of £497,574, with government funding of £396,441, of which CST Global is to receive £151,699. HELCATS will run from March 2018 to February 2019.

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