School of Physics and Astrophysics

Postgraduate research profiles


David Gozzard

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 2480

Start date

Feb 2014

Submission date

Feb 2017


David Gozzard

David Gozzard profile photo


Stabilized transfer of time and frequency for space science applications


The accuracy and stability of atomic clocks has improved to such a degree that conventional methods for transmitting the clock signals (usually radio transmissions) cannot carry sufficient information to transmit the clock’s full precision. Transmissions using lasers enable the time and frequency signals from the atomic clocks to be transmitted with a thousand-fold increase in precision, but laser transmissions are susceptible to environmental noise, such as vibrations and diurnal temperature variations that affect the optical path of the transmission and degrade the information.

Precise time and frequency transfer technologies have applications in a wide range of fields including fundamental physics, radio astronomy, geodesy, optical spectroscopy, and telecommunications, distributed computing, and finance. The purpose of my research is to develop stabilized time and frequency dissemination technologies with application to space science research. In particular, my research focuses on the application of these technologies to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) projects.

This research will enable the SKA to disseminate frequency references to each of the hundreds of SKA antenna sites at a far lower cost than the standard approach of installing an atomic clock at each antenna site, which would be necessary if suitable signal stabilization technologies cannot be developed. My research will also allow signals generated by atomic clocks at UWA to be transmitted to the Western Australia Space Centre, where they will be compared to atomic clocks on the International Space Station, enabling an improvement in the fundamental and applied science objectives of ACES.

Why my research is important

A huge range of modern technologies, from GPS to radio-telescopes, rely on the transmission of high-precision time and frequency signals. Over long transmission distances, these signals pick up disturbances that reduce their precision, and so reduce the capabilities of the technologies that depend on them. By developing tools and techniques to overcome this signal degradation, my research will support and enable the next generation of high-precision scientific and industrial instrumentation.


  • • Australian Postgraduate Award

ASKAP antenna 15 during field trials in 2014.


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