Rubidium miniature atomic clock betters basestation needs, in ¼-space

April 09, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Microsemi’s enhanced Quantum rubidium miniature atomic clock (MAC) SA.3X family exceeds, the company says, wireless LTE base station and mission-critical defence infrastructure holdover requirements

As one of the smallest, lightest and highest-performing MACs, the enhanced Quantum MAC SA.3X family is based on Microsemi’s coherent population trapping (CPT) technology, to meet all traditional, broad market frequency reference application needs.

Featuring mechanical robustness and temperature performance, the MAC SA.3X family is only 25% of the volume of the nearest competing clock in the same category. This small size, combined with its very low power consumption, makes the SA.3x series ideal for a broad variety of platforms that mount directly on printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA), eliminating the need for a heat sink or fan.

Microsemi notes that it designed the Quantum MAC SA.3X family specifically to meet essential frequency accuracy and stability requirements in applications that include wireless base stations, wire line network infrastructure, defence systems and test and measurement instruments. These types of systems can benefit from the low-power Quantum MAC SA. 3X that provides the ability to operate across a wide range of temperatures.

The Quantum Rubidium MAC family delivers superior holdover accuracy over extended time periods, exceeding all wireless LTE base station and mission-critical defence infrastructure requirements. The MAC-SA.3x will meet the LTE holdover requirements for several days, a significant feature. This innovative capability far exceeds, Microsemi adds, conventional quartz-based oscillators, which only meet holdover requirements for a few hours at most. This critical difference results in an improved mitigation solution during periods of GNSS vulnerabilities caused by jamming and outage.

The MAC SA.3X family features:

• One of the smallest rubidium clocks

• Compact design 51 x 51 x 18 mm

• Lower power than traditional rubidium clocks

• 5W at 25C (14W max during warmup)

• Superior atomic clock performance

• Monthly ageing <1E-10

• 1 Sec ADEV <3E-11

• Rapid operational stability after turn-on

• Exclusive CPT technology does not use a lamp, but uses a laser that needs milliwatts versus the traditional rubidium lamp, which consumes power in watts.