Microfabricated rubidium vapour cell with a thick glass core for small-scale atomic clock applications
This paper presents a new fabrication method to manufacture alkali reference cells having dimensions larger than standard micromachined cells and smaller than glass-blown ones, for use in compact atomic devices such as vapour-cell atomic clocks or magnetometers. The technology is based on anodic bonding of silicon and relatively thick glass wafers and fills a gap in cell sizes and technologies available up to now: on one side, microfabrication technologies with typical dimensions <= 2 mm and on the other side, classical glass-blowing technologies for typical dimensions of about 6-10 mm or larger. The fabrication process is described for cells containing atomic Rb and spectroscopic measurements (optical absorption spectrum and double resonance) are reported. The analysis of the bonding strength of our cells was performed and shows that the first anodic bonding steps exhibit higher bonding strengths than the later ones. The spectroscopic results show a good quality of the cells. From the double-resonance signals, we predict a clock stability of approximate to 3 x 10(-11) at 1 s of integration time, which compares well to the performance of compact commercial Rb atomic clocks.