12th of December 2018 (Besançon) – PhD defense of Grégoire Coget

Grégoire COGET will defend his thesis on 12th of December 2018 at 2:00 pm on the subject “Coherent population trapping Cs cell atomic clock with Auto-Balanced Ramsey interrogation protocol”, realized in FEMTO-ST Institute, under the supervision of Rodolphe Boudot.

The defense will take place at the Amphitheatre gagnepain of ENSMM, in front of a jury composed of Carlos Garrido Alzar, Martina Knoop, François Nez, François-Xavier Esnault, Rodolphe Boudot, Vincent Giordano.


This thesis reports a high-performance Cs vapor cell atomic clock based on coherent population trapping (CPT).
This simple-architecture clock prototype combines a DFB diode laser (895 nm, Cs D1 line), a fibered electro-optical modulator driven by an ultra-low phase noise microwave  frequency synthesizer, an acousto-optical modulator, a Michelson system, a buffer gas filled Cs vapor cell and FPGA-based low noise electronics.
The clock combines an optimized CPT pumping scheme, named push-pull optical pumping (PPOP), and a Ramsey-like pulsed interrogation, allowing the detection of high-contrast Ramsey-CPT fringes.
During this thesis has been implemented and adapted for this vapor-cell CPT clock, a novel interrogation protocol recently proposed by PTB for optical clocks, named Auto-Balanced Ramsey (ABR). This method, aiming to eliminate probe-induced frequency shifts, is based on the extraction of two error signals derived from two successive Ramsey sequences with different dark periods. The first feedback loop uses the error signal generated by the short Ramsey sequence to apply a phase-step correction to the local oscillator during the dark time that nulls the probe-field induced frequency shift. The second loop provides the means to stabilize the local oscillator frequency using the error signal derived from the long Ramsey sequence.
This ABR-CPT protocol, improved further with symmetrization (SABR-CPT), has allowed to reduce drastically the sensitivity of the clock frequency to laser power variations, by a factor 80 in comparison with a standard Ramsey-CPT interrogation. This CPT clock exhibits today the fractional frequency stability level of 2 10-13 τ-1/2, with best demonstrated mid-term stability in quiet conditions at the level of 2.5 10-15 at 10 000 s.
Annex laser spectroscopy studies in Cs microfabricated cells were also performed in this thesis. We note the preliminary demonstration of a frequency-stabilized laser using dual-frequency sub-Doppler spectroscopy in a Cs microcell, exhibiting an encouraging fractional frequency stability lower than 2 10-12 at 1 s. These short-term stability performances are 10 times better than those of microwave CPT-based chip-scale atomic clocks.