Industrial Physics:

Miniature Atomic Clocks and

Careers in Industry

Jennifer Strabley

Honeywell Aerospace


A career in industry is often the path less traveled.  One reason is that it is hard to get information about what a career in industry is really like:  What types of projects are done?  What is day-to-day life like?  What skills are needed?   In this hour I will give you a flavor for a project that you might work on as an industrial physicist and will provide my viewpoints on a career in industry. 

I will present a brief overview on progress towards developing Miniature Atomic clocks – primary frequency standards with substantial reduction in size, weight, and power over the state-of-the-art. Our clock is based on a microwave transition in Rubidium-87. Unique to this effort, our focus is on special design considerations and engineering trades to realize a primary frequency standard in an ultimate miniaturized form factor, and compatible with a high volume, robust manufacturing process.  Key to size reduction is the use of laser-cooled atoms to achieve narrow linewidths in a small size, and the ability to perform all the clock functions:  sample preparation, spectroscopy, and read-out, in one physical location with a single laser source.  Applications, technology background, project progress and future goals will be discussed. I will also share my experiences as a physicist who has chosen a career in industry.  Please bring your questions!