NIST 2013 Seminar

NIST, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, offers an annual seminar on Time and Frequency. In 2013 the seminar in Boulder, Colorado at the home of America’s atomic clock time standard is four days long. Devoted to the topic of time and frequency measurement, quality, and technologies, it is a testimony to the importance of precise frequency sources and accurate measurement.

From GPS and other navigation systems to data communication and network reference standards, higher precision oscillators allow higher performance applications to be created using the precision frequency control devices at Quartz crystals are still at the heart of most oscillators, but they face increasingly challenging demands as systems are deployed throughout the globe in harsh environmental conditions of both very high and extremely low temperatures as well as varying implementation conditions.

The seminar explains the various terms involved in characterizing oscillator performance, and includes sessions on techniques for measuring key values such as frequency and time stability, phase noise, spectral purity, and jitter. At the application level, NIST discusses challenges such as satellite communications and time standard synchronization.

Scientists’ real-world experience with each application introduces the unique characteristics of each application over great distances, the problems of rapidly moving transmitters and receivers introducing Doppler shift, and methods of determining and resolving discrepancies in time standards. In addition to state-of-the-art discussions, NIST covers advances in the optical and laser realm along with visions of future time and frequency applications and technologies.

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