# Statistics of atomic frequency standards

**David W. Allan**

CiteWeb id: 19660000050

CiteWeb score: 2102

DOI: 10.1109/PROC.1966.4634

A theoretical development is presented which results in a relationship between the expectation value of the standard deviation of the frequency fluctuations for any finite number of data samples and the infinite time average value of the standard deviation, which provides an invariant measure of an important quality factor of a frequency standard. A practical and straightforward method of determining the power spectral density of the frequency fluctuations from the variance of the frequency fluctuations, the sampling time, the number of samples taken, and the dependence on system bandwidth is also developed. Additional insight is also given into some of the problems that arise from the presence of "flicker noise" (spectrum proportional to |ω| -1 ) modulation of the frequency of an oscillator. The theory is applied in classifying the types of noise on the signals of frequency standards made available at NBS, Boulder Laboratories, such as: masers (both H and N 15 H 3 ), the cesium beam frequency standard employed as the U. S. Frequency Standard, and rubidium gas cells. "Flicker noise" frequency modulation was not observed on the signals of masers for sampling times ranging from **0**.1 second to 4 hours. In a comparison between the NBS hydrogen maser and the NBS III cesium beam, uncorrelated random noise was observed on the frequency fluctuations for sampling times extending to 4 hours; the fractional standard deviations of the frequency fluctuations were as low as 5 parts in 10 14 .

David W. Allan,

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