The Army is interested in expanding its reach into Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) technology, a frequency source which provides the accuracy needed for operation, regardless of GPS availability.  It is a key component in equipment that provides the ability to obtain and trust Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) information while operating in conditions that impede or deny access to Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, including operating in dense vegetation, built-up urban and mountainous terrain, subterranean and underwater operations, and in the presence of electromagnetic interference or enemy jamming and spoofing of the GPS.

InSitech has been contracted to research, identify and substantiate technology solution providers.  The objectives of this requirement are: 1) to explore the potential for enhancement of the performance characteristics of a miniaturized atomic time and frequency reference unit to meet the demands of challenging environmental conditions for military platforms; 2) to explore high potential opportunities to advance the technology processes necessary for high volume, low unit-cost production of the unit.

 

If a technical solution(s) is deemed promising, the Army may elect to proceed to acquire designated high potential items for inspection, assessment, integration, test and evaluation by a U.S. Government team.  The evaluation of solutions / companies will be driven by those firms specializing in miniaturized atomic time and frequency reference technologies that are be capable of serving as a source for a Stratum 2 clock system under the environmental conditions experienced in military ground and airborne platforms, including electromagnetic fields, magnetic fields, temperature, humidity, vibration, shock, and Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF).

The specifications and requirements are as follows:

 

A Stratum 2 clock system (2 hierarchy levels down from the pure reference clock) tracks an input under normal operating conditions, and holds to the last best estimate of the input reference frequency during impaired operating conditions.  A Stratum 2 clock system requires a minimum adjustment (tracking) range of 1.6 x 10-8.  The drift of a Stratum 2 with no input reference is less than 1.6 x 10-8 in one year.  The short-term drift of the system is less than 1 x 10-10 in 24 hours.  Typical examples of Stratum 2 clocks are Rubidium Standards and Double Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillators that usually require relatively large Size, Weight, and Power (SWAP).

The miniaturized atomic time and frequency reference unit manufactured under this effort shall be capable of serving as a source for a Stratum 2 clock system under the environmental conditions experienced in military ground and airborne platforms, including electromagnetic fields, magnetic fields, temperature (-40°C to +85°C), humidity, vibration, and shock.  The reliability of the unit shall be more than 50,000 hours of Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF).  The key performance parameters required for the unit are as follows: The instability of the reference frequency characterized by Allan deviation shall be no worse than ,2×10-−10./,-𝜏. , where “τ” is the integration time, until it reaches the Flicker frequency noise floor.  The long-term frequency drift due to aging and random walk frequency noise shall be less than 10-11 per day (24 Hours).  The initial frequency accuracy shall be better than ±5x10-11.  The power consumption shall be less than 120 milliwatts and the size shall be smaller than 20 cc.

 

Should the Government choose to move forward, the selected subcontractor will be asked to provide demonstration quantities of selected high potential CSACs technologies, estimated not to exceed (20), for Government test and evaluation.  In addition to the actual hardware prototypes, all associated prototyping and design data shall be delivered, as well as a narrative that explains the CSAC and a User Guide that fully explains its use, operations, and limitations shall also be included for USG evaluation.

Chip Scale Atomic Clock

(CSAC)