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Chip Scale Ultra-Stable Clocks

Vikram Thakar, Zhengzheng Wu, Cesar Figueroa, Adam Peczalski

Sponsor: NASA NASA

This project intends to develop a chip-scale timing unit that offers an order of magnitude higher performance compared to existing solutions. Current Quartz-based clocks are not ideally suited to the high temperatures and extreme acceleration typical of space applications. The chip-scale precision clocks developed under this research offer reduced thermal sensitivity, and susceptibility to shock and acceleration using an array of micro-mechanical resonators with different temperature coefficient of frequencies. The resonators are passively compensated in a broad temperature range and offer a high quality factor and a small motional impedance, all characteristics required for achieving low-phase noise and low-power clocks. The resonators are placed in an array, and the frequency is estimated based on the weighted average output of the resonators with an accuracy that is at least an order of magnitude better than that of a single resonator clock. This research results in more precise mechanical clocks operating in harsh environment.

F. Davoodi, J. Burdick, and M. Rais-Zadeh, "Moball Network: A self-powered intelligent network of controllable spherical sensors to explore solar planets and moons," AIAA SPACE 2014 Conference and Exposition, Best Paper Award , August, 2014.

V. A. Thakar, Z. Wu, C. Figueroa, and M. Rais-Zadeh, "A multi-resonator approach for eliminating the temperature dependence of silicon-based references," Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems Workshop, Hilton Head, SC, 2014.

V. A. Thakar and M. Rais-Zadeh, "A temperature-stable clock using multiple temperature-compensated micro-resonators," IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium, Taipei, Taiwan, May, 2014.

V. A. Thakar and M. Rais-Zadeh, "Temperature-compensated piezoelectrically actuated Lamé-mode resonators," IEEE International Conference on Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS’14), San Francisco, CA, pp. 214-217, Jan, 2014.

V. A. Thakar and M. Rais-Zadeh, "Optimization of tether geometry to achieve low anchor loss in Lamé mode resonators," 2013 UFFC, EFTF, and PFM Symposium, Prague, Czech Republic, July, 2013.

V. A. Thakar, Z. Z. Wu, A. Peczalski, and M. Rais-Zadeh, "Piezoelectrically transduced temperature-compensated flexural-mode silicon resonators," IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 819-823, June, 2013.

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