[time-nuts] Thinking outside the box a super reference

Richard (Rick) Karlquist richard at karlquist.com
Thu Nov 3 17:52:48 EDT 2016

On 11/3/2016 1:07 PM, Bert Kehren via time-nuts wrote:
> Over the past there has been talk about building from  scratch high
> performance references. I think consensus was that it is out of  reach. In the mean

I was on the design team for the HP 10816 mini rubidium
which leveraged the production capabilities of the
HP 5065 such as glass blowing, etc., although what we
called "glassware" was much smaller in the 10811
than the 5065.  IMHO, the glassware
is the critical item.  Of the glassware, the lamp is
probably the most finicky.  The glassware used some
glass type (forgot the number) that was only slightly
removed from fused quartz.  Very difficult to work
with.  Also, one of the Rb isotopes is slightly radioactive.
35 years ago, the guy in the next cubicle got away with
storing it under his desk.  He also happily smoked
cigarettes all day at his desk.  Another ERA.

HP IIRC supplied "RVFR" assemblies to customers who wanted
to roll their own electronics to use in military applications
where the 5065 wasn't suitable.  I would consider approaching
current manufacturers of Rb standards to see if they would
make glassware to order.

Another thing to consider is optically pumped Rb.  This is
now possible with available lasers.  There are some DARPA
projects in this area that I know of.  I can put you in
contact with the right person.  Optical pumping gets rid of
the lamp hassle and the radioactive isotope for the filter

The rest of the standard can be built in a garage using various
contract manufacturers available online.   If I can give any advice 
about this project, feel free to throw me some questions.

Rick Karlquist N6RK

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