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World’s most precise clock to be built at Lot Fourteen

Pictured among the antennas of Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) in Longreach, Queensland where the Cryoclock team brought two of their unique clocks to install on the radar are, from left, Research Group Leader Fred Baynes, Managing Director Andre Luiten, Cryoclock, General Manager Martin O’Connor and SRC Australia Senior Radar Analyst Waddah Al-Ashwal.

A dedicated design and production facility for the company behind the world’s most precise clock has been launched at Lot Fourteen by Premier Steven Marshall.

Cryoclock develops and produces novel precision time and frequency solutions for use in defence, space, quantum computing and critical infrastructure.

It has joined other leading businesses and organisations in the focus hi-tech and defence sectors at Lot Fourteen, including the Australian Institute of Machine Learning, the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre, Leonardo Australia, and Naval Group Pacific.

“At Lot Fourteen we are supercharging innovation, investment and the creation of high-value career and job opportunities for South Australians, particularly in in our focus sectors of hi-tech, space and defence,” Premier Marshall said.

“Cryoclock ticks all of these boxes, as the company behind the world’s most precise clock and precision time and frequency solutions for use in defence, space, quantum computing and critical infrastructure.”

Cryoclock’s flagship product, the Sapphire Clock, has already attracted the attention and major funding of national partners in the defence industry in their quest for greater radar precision.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds announced that BAE Systems Australia and Cryoclock had been awarded a $4.8 million contract to further develop the ultra-high precision technology to enhance the performance of Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).

BAE Systems’ advanced defence technology protects people and national security and keeps critical information and infrastructure secure. The Company searches for new ways to provide customers with a competitive edge across the air, maritime, land and cyber domains. They currently employ a skilled workforce of 85,800 people in more than 40 countries.

The clock is thousands of times more precise than current timing components and loses just one second for every 40 million years of operation.

Although this level of precision seems both beyond comprehension and everyday application, important systems such as radar require this to work towards their ultimate limits.

Minister Reynolds said the announcement was part of the Federal Government’s commitment to providing Australian companies with more opportunities to win work in high-value, high-tech projects that support the development of Australia’s sovereign defence industrial base.

“CryoClock’s leading-edge technology also has the potential to be used beyond defence including in the communications, advanced computing and scientific research sectors,” Minister Reynolds said.

JORN is a vital strategic defence-wide area surveillance system that surveys the northern air and sea approaches of Australia out to a range of 3000 kilometres.

It is remotely operated from the RAAF Base at Edinburgh in northern Adelaide, with three radar sites located in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

An artificial sapphire crystal, the key and unique component of Cryoclock’s Sapphire Clock technology.

The Sapphire Clock is based on a whispering gallery mode of a cryogenically cooled sapphire crystal. It has an ultra-low phase-noise frequency oscillator that produces extremely stable signals from HF to X-band. It offers a range of potential applications including defence radars, quantum computing, space navigation and timing services and ultra-precise laboratory reference.

Cryoclock was founded by leading researchers Andre Luiten and John Hartnett from the University of Adelaide. Cryoclock currently employs 9 staff, including its specialist design engineering team that has successfully delivered bespoke products to both commercial and defence customers.

The company continues to benefit from its close association with the university’s Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) at the University of Adelaide. IPAS brings together experimental physicists, chemists, material scientists, biologists and medical researchers to undertake research that creates transformational new approaches to sensing and measurement technologies.

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