The passive optically pumped Rb frequency standard: the laser approach
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This paper outlines the progress made during the last few decades in the implementation of a frequency standard using the optical-microwave double resonance technique and laser optical pumping in a sealed cell containing an alkali atom vapor in a microwave cavity. An analysis is presented based on a three-level model, describing the basic phenomena taking place in that approach. The expected frequency stability is calculated. The various frequency shifts taking place are described and their importance is evaluated. Several laser systems generally used in this context are described as well as the various techniques for stabilizing them. The results obtained by several research groups are outlined, compared to the analysis, and evaluated in the context of the implementation of a practical frequency standard. Conclusions are drawn relative to the future of a realistic implementation of such a laser pumped frequency standard.
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