Dr Jacques Haesler
CSEM SA - Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique, Project Office, Systems Division


Trends in the miniaturization of atomic clocks


An atomic clock is an oscillator providing a signal with exquisite frequency and hence timing stability, which are derived from the intrinsically stable frequency of atoms (e.g. rubidium). This capability to maintain accurate timing over extended period of time with compact and low power consumption devices is a key benefit for a number of applications like secured telecommunication, synchronized networks (5G), Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and undersea oil and gas exploration.

This presentation will give an overview of the current Miniature Atomic Clock (MAC) prototypes and products around the world, together with their main applications. A more detailed description of the MAC developments conducted since more than 10 years at CSEM will then be given, highlighting the development of the wafer-scale MEMS atomic vapour cells fabrication process and the level of clock integration into a flat-form factor physics package for future portable devices and high-end demanding applications like on-board satellites.

This work is financed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC), Innosuisse, the Swiss Confederation and the Cantons of Neuchâtel and Basel.


Jacques Haesler received his M.S. degree in physical chemistry in 2002 with the Ciba Spécialité Chimique Award, and received his PhD in 2006 from the University of Fribourg, where he focused his research on the development of a novel Raman Optical Activity (ROA) spectrometer. After one year of postdoc on plasmon-enhanced Raman spectroscopy at the Swiss federal laboratories for materials science and technology (EMPA), he joined the Time and Frequency section at the Centre Suisse d’Électronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) SA in Neuchâtel. Since 2008, as a senior R&D Engineer, he was responsible of the Swiss Miniature Atomic Clock (SMAC) development, from the atomic vapor cell fabrication to the system level clock integration, and participated to the development of atomic gyroscopes at CSEM. As a Project Manager since 2009, he managed different developments, mainly for the European Space Agency (ESA), in the field of Miniature Atomic Clocks (MACs) and flash imaging LiDARs. He is now managing the Time and Frequency project portfolio as well as risky and strategic projects at CSEM. He is author and co-author of more than 25 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals (12) and conference proceedings (14) and 5 patents.