Frequency Comparison of 171 +Ion Optical Clocks at PTB and NPL via GPS PPP

J. Leute, N. Huntemann, B. Lipphardt, Christian Tamm, P. B.R. Nisbet-Jones, S. A. King, R. M. Godun, J. M. Jones, H. S. Margolis, P. B. Whibberley, Anders Wallin, Mikko Merimaa, P. Gill, E. Peik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We used precise point positioning, a well-established GPS carrier-phase frequency transfer method to perform a direct remote comparison of two optical frequency standards based on single laser-cooled 171 + ions operated at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), U.K. and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany. At both institutes, an active hydrogen maser serves as a flywheel oscillator which is connected to a GPS receiver as an external frequency reference and compared simultaneously to a realization of the unperturbed frequency of the 2S1/2}(F=0)-2D-3/2(F=2) electric quadrupole transition in 171 + via an optical femtosecond frequency comb. To profit from long coherent GPS-link measurements, we extrapolate the fractional frequency difference over the various data gaps in the optical clock to maser comparisons which introduces maser noise to the frequency comparison but improves the uncertainty from the GPS-link instability. We determined the total statistical uncertainty consisting of the GPS-link uncertainty and the extrapolation uncertainties for several extrapolation schemes. Using the extrapolation scheme with the smallest combined uncertainty, we find a fractional frequency difference y(PTB)-y(NPL) of -1.3× 10-15 with a combined uncertainty of 1.2× 10-15 for a total measurement time of 67 h. This result is consistent with an agreement of the frequencies realized by both optical clocks and with recent absolute frequency measurements against caesium fountain clocks within the corresponding uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7398135
Pages (from-to)981-985
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Frequency transfer
  • GPS precise point positioning (PPP)
  • optical clock


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