Optical atomic clocks require local oscillators with exceptional optical coherence owing to the challenge of performing spectroscopy on their ultranarrow-linewidth clock transitions. Advances in laser stabilization have thus enabled rapid progress in clock precision. A new class of ultrastable lasers based on cryogenic silicon reference cavities has recently demonstrated the longest optical coherence times to date. Here we utilize such a local oscillator with two strontium (Sr) optical lattice clocks to achieve an advance in clock stability. Through an anti-synchronous comparison, the fractional instability of both clocks is assessed to be 4.8×10-17∕τ for an averaging time τ (in seconds). Synchronous interrogation enables each clock to average at a rate of 3.5×10-17∕τ, dominated by quantum projection noise, and reach an instability of 6.6 × 10−19 over an hour-long measurement. The ability to resolve sub-10−18-level frequency shifts in such short timescales will affect a wide range of applications for clocks in quantum sensing and fundamental physics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics