Tuesday 24 July 2012

Clocking in

It is often asked what the sampling rates are (160 or 200 megasamples per second) and how they are synchronised. For this, the station uses a rubidium atomic clock. This small, temperature stabilised unit provides a 10 MHz clock signal, from which phased locked loops can generate the required sampling frequency. The rubidium itself is synchronised long-term with a GPS 1 PPS (pulse-per-second).

The rubidium frequency standard in the KAIRA equipment racks. (Photo: D. McKay-Bukowski)
Although seemingly not much, this actually a very important part of the system and the monitoring of the stability and accuracy of it is an important part of the quality assurance programme of the station.

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