Cavity-Enhanced Quantum Optical Clocks

The “Atomic Quantum Clock” is a milestone of the European Quantum Technologies Timeline. Q-Clocks seeks to establish a new frontier in the quantum measurement of time by joining state-of-the-art optical lattice clocks and the quantized electromagnetic field provided by an optical cavity. The goal of the project is to apply advanced quantum techniques to state-of-the-art optical lattice clocks, demonstrating enhanced sensitivity while preserving long coherence times and the highest accuracy.

A three-fold atom-cavity system approach will be employed: the dispersive quantum non-demolition (QND) system in the weak coupling regime, the QND system in the strong collective coupling regime, and the quantum enhancement of narrow-linewidth laser light generation towards a continuous active optical frequency standard. Cross-fertilization of such approaches will be granted by paralel theoretical investigations on the available and brand-new quantum protocols, providing cavity-assisted readout phase amplification, adaptive entanglement and squeezed state preparation protocols. Novel ideas on quantum state engineering of the clock states inside the optical lattice will be exploited to test possible quantum information and communication applications. By pushing the performance of optical atomic clocks toward the Heisenberg limit, Q-Clocks is expected to substantially enhance all utilizations of high precision atomic clocks, including tests of fundamental physics (test of the theory of relativity, physics beyond the standard model, variation of fundamental constants, search for dark matter) and applied physics (relativistic geophysics, chrono geodetic leveling, precision geodesy and timetagging in coherent high speed optical communication). Finally, active optical atomic clocks would have a potential to join large scale laser interferometers in gravitational waves detection.


  • Coordinator: Filippo Levi (Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica, IT)
  • Roberto Franzosi (Istituto Nazionale di Ottica CNR, IT)
  • Jan W. Thomsen (Kobenhavns Universitet, DK)
  • Morgan Mitchell (ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences, ES)
  • Jérôme Lodewyck (CNRS/SYRTE, FR)
  • Michal Zawada (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, PL)

PROJECT POSTER: poster_qclocks

MID-TERM REPORTING: Presentation of the mid-term results of the project 

FINAL REPORTING: Presentation of the final results of the project

Call year

Call 2021

Call topic

Q-metrology sensing and imaging

Area of research

Quantum information sciences

Start date

August 2018


36 (+11) months

Funding support

€ 1 245 517,00

Project status

In Progress