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Sophisticated Ramsey-based interrogation protocols using composite laser pulse sequences have been recently proposed to provide next-generation high-precision atomic clocks with a near perfect elimination of frequency shifts induced during the atom-probing field interaction. We propose here a simple alternative approach to the autobalanced Ramsey interrogation protocol and demonstrate its application to a cold-atom microwave clock based on coherent population trapping (CPT). The main originality of the method, based on two consecutive Ramsey sequences with different dark periods, is to sample the central Ramsey fringes with frequency jumps finely adjusted by an additional frequency-displacement concomitant parameter, scaling as the inverse of the dark period. The advantage of this displaced frequency-jump Ramsey method is that the local oscillator (LO) frequency is used as a single physical variable to control both servo loops of the sequence, simplifying its implementation and avoiding noise associated with controlling the LO phase. When tested using a CPT cold-atom clock, the DFJR scheme reduces the sensitivity of the clock frequency to variations of the light shifts by more than an order of magnitude compared with the standard Ramsey interrogation. This simple method can be applied in a wide variety of Ramsey-spectroscopy based applications including frequency metrology with CPT-based and optical atomic clocks, mass spectrometry, and precision spectroscopy.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Physical review letters
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