[time-nuts] Homebrew primary standard?

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Fri Jul 27 13:59:15 EDT 2007

> Has there been any attempts (or successes) at someone outside of a
> national laboratory, and commercial R&D groups to build a primary
> frequency/time standard?

Two attempts to build hydrogen masers that I know of; little
or no progress.

> I am not sure if there is anything that would prevent an individual
> from building a cesium standard of the quality seen in early models
> from NPL and NIST, or an industrial style (compact Ramsey cavity)
> standard.
> -Michael

Yes, it would be possible. I know that several of us have
considered it, for a few minutes at least.

It would require some expertise in physics, electronics,
glass and metal fabrication, vacuum systems, magnet
design, electron multipliers, and who knows that else.
You'd go through many prototypes. To see if it's working
you might want another one in-house.

You'd learn a great deal. It would be an amazing story.
In the end, you'd end up with a standard accurate to one
part in ten to the 10th or 11th that would work for hours
or even days at a time.

The reason no one has tried it, I believe, is that you can
get the same or better accuracy with a simple $75 GPS
receiver today. It would seem motivation for the project
would be the biggest problem.


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