MAC Based Atomic Clocks For Wide Temperature Ranging Applications


  • Microchip has announced the latest in its line of miniature atomic clocks. It offers a wide range of operating temperature
  • It features a low output frequency of up to 1Hz
Atomic clocks are characterised by two physical values. These values are accuracy and stability over a given period of time. A clock selection depends on the application of the clock. Less accurate but highly stable atomic clocks are the most widely available and least expensive on the market.

New atomic clock sample

Microchip has released a new atomic clock sample for scientific and industrial applications. It is developed for enhancing its Miniature Atomic Clock (MAC) technology. This device, according to Microchip, can deliver a wider temperature range and rapid warm-up time.

Offers frequency stability over a wide temperature range

According to the company, the MAC-SA5X is a rubidium atomic clock. It features frequency stability of 5.0E-11 over a suitable operating temperature range. The clock has an ageing rate of 5.0E-11 per month. The clock operates at a temperature ranging from -40°C up to +75°C.

The firm also stated,

Its combination of the low monthly drift rate, short-term stability and stability during temperature changes allow the device to maintain precise frequency and timing requirements during extended periods of hold-over during GNSS outages or for applications where large rack-mount clocks are not possible.

Holdover of up to 48 hours

The company informed that the clock can provide sub-microsecond hold-over for up to 48 hours. This prediction was made assuming the phase/frequency offset to be zero. The product is also claimed to run for 30 days consistently with reaching the hold-over condition. The favourable temperature for maximum clock stability can be achieved at a static temperature of 25˚C.

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Maintains the same size as of opened crystal oscillator


This atomic clock comes in package dimensions of 50.8mm x 50.8mm x 47 mm. The new clock is intended to be the same size as an opened crystal oscillator (OCXO). The device can provide an output power of up to 6.3W. According to Microchip,

MAC-SA5X is designed with the same footprint as the previous generation miniature atomic clock technology. Also, it provides backward compatibility with its predecessor MAC-SA.3Xm family.

This atomic clock is targeted for precision-based applications. These applications are generally hard-real time systems that can not bear any delay in the running applications. Microchip has made the device available for pre-sampling.

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