Applications could include homeland security (e.g., surveillance of radio traffic for anomalous signals, or high-resolution digital imaging radar on unmanned aircraft), telecommunications (e.g., maintaining separation between frequencies in high-bandwidth networks), and perhaps even consumer devices (e.g., satellite television downlinks).
A patent was issued recently* for the NIST oscillator, which is about the size of a roll of 35 mm camera film. NIST researchers have built five prototypes on test fixtures, which offer several-orders-of-magnitude reductions in various types of self-generated signal interference, or noise, compared to typical commercial oscillators, resulting in improved frequency stability, according to David Howe, one of the inventors. In addition, the simple design reduces costs and improves reliability, while consuming less power than other oscillators of comparable signal purity. The small size could be an advantage on some surveillance platforms.
Microwave oscillators are used as reference or clock signals in many high-precision technologies. Through control of temperature and other variables, the oscillators produce a desired signal at one narrowly defined frequency while suppressing random, electronically induced "noise" generated by components. In the best microwave oscillators, the signal typically is amplified inside a metal cavity containing a solid insulating material that internally sustains microwaves and radio waves with minimal loss, especially at cryogenic temperatures, an expensive and complex design. By contrast, the NIST oscillator uses an ultra-stiff ceramic manifold that supports a single frequency with either a vacuum or air as the insulating medium.
The NIST device operates at high signal power (many watts) without the noise penalty found in the conventional design just described. The technique maintains such a stable frequency that it can overcome or compensate for self-generated noise produced by components such as amplifiers that sustain oscillation. NIST researchers continue to work on improvements, hoping to make the technology more tolerant of vibrations such as those from aircraft, field radars, and even sub-audible vibrations in buildings.
Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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