Cesium atomic clock eliminates obsolescence concerns

Microchip’s VP frequency and time systems business unit, Randy Brudzinski, explains how its upgraded cesium atomic clock offers confidence in continuity of supply

For applications such as complex underwater defense missions, the need for synchronized precise timing and frequency solutions is critical to safeguard and process data as intended. Many such applications rely on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to provide that precise time and frequency but GNSS is susceptible to jamming and spoofing attacks. To provide multiple industries—including aviation and defense—with a long-term and precise timing and frequency solution, Microchip Technology has introduced the 5071B cesium atomic clock that can perform autonomous time keeping for months in the event of GNSS denials.

Microchip’s VP frequency and time systems business unit, Randy Brudzinski, said: “The 5071A has been the world’s premier time and frequency standard for decades. With the upgraded 5071B, Microchip continues its position as the industry leader in complex timing solutions. Our customers can rely on the 5071B’s technology for years to come and implement a timing and frequency solution with confidence in continuity of supply and modern components, which eliminates obsolescence concerns.”

The 5071B is available in a three-unit height (3U) 19in rackmount enclosure, providing a compact product to work in environments where it can be easily transported and secured versus a larger alternative designed specifically for laboratory environments. 

The 5071B has upgraded electronic components to address possible obsolescence or non-RoHS circuitry. The product provides 100ns holdover for more than two months, maintaining system synchronization when GNSS signals like GPS are denied. For example, this capability would enable a 5G network to remain fully operational for months without GNSS. 

As a cesium beam tube product with no deterministic long-term frequency drift, the 5071B provides absolute frequency accuracy of 5E-13 or 500 quadrillionths over all specified environmental conditions for the product’s life. 

For military applications requiring rapid deployments for system radars, 5E-13 stability eliminates the need for the acquisition of external synchronization sources prior to radiating. In satellite communications, this enables the user to broadcast and transmit over very small frequency bands without drifting out of band for the entire duration of the product. 

The 5071B is now compliant with RoHS, making it available in regions where regulatory policies are in place.