The 72nd IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS’18) was held in the Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, California, USA from the 22nd to the 24th of May, 2018. This very special venue featuring breathtaking natural resources provided a unique setting for attendees to enjoy serene and beautiful scenery while concentrating on the conference’s rich technical program and interactions with colleagues.
On May 22nd, the conference started with opening remarks by the General Chair, Aaron Partridge. Dr Partridge introduced David Howe, who was recently named to the grade of IEEE Fellow for his contributions on global time synchronization. Debra Coler, General Chair of 2019 IFCS-EFTF, announced the planning status of the conference which will be held in Orlando, Florida next April. The first plenary speaker, Prof. Richard Muller from UC Berkeley, was introduced by the TPC Chair, Dana Weinstein. His presentation entitled “The Physics of Time: Why does it flow?” focused on a new theory for the flow of time, linking it to the creation of new space through the expansion of the universe. His talk inspired many questions and comments from the audience. On this initial morning, a single session was programmed. This was the first time the programming was organized in this way for IFCS. The purpose was to encourage attendees with various backgrounds and fields to collectively attend selected invited and contributed talks of particularly high quality. In the afternoon, there were three parallel sessions covering different areas, such as the Resonant Devices session.
During the coffee break, the attendees gathered in the exhibition area for networking and communication. There were 17 exhibitors, and attendees actively explored the product portfolios during the breaks. The symposium banquet dinner was held in the Squaw Valley Conference Center. A string quartet formed by Rich Ruby (Broadcom) and Ernest Ting-Ta Yen (TI) from the frequency control community impressed the audience with their performance.
On May 23rd, the symposium started with the 2018 Keithley Award announcement. The UFFC-S President, Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, presented this award to David Allan for his contributions on time determination and precise timing instruments. Unfortunately, David Allan could not attend in person to receive this award. Next the 2018 I. I. Rabi Award was presented to Jun Ye for his contributions on stable, reproducible, and accurate atomic clocks and the use of the clocks to probe atomic interactions and quantum systems.
The second plenary talk entitled “Towards Integrated Optical Time Standards and Frequency Synthesizers” was given by Prof. Kerry Vahala from CalTech. Prof. Vahala overviewed the history and elements of frequency combs as well as the physics of the new microcombs. Efforts to develop integrated optical clocks and integrated optical frequency synthesizers using the microcomb element were also described in his presentation. The symposium lunch was held outside of the building in a round table format. Attendees enjoyed a privileged atmosphere for social and professional networking.
In the afternoon, a poster session, including the student paper competition posters, was held. Only 24 abstracts (6 groups with 4 abstracts per group) had been selected as student paper finalists. The finalists presented both posters and oral presentations at the meeting. The judges from each group listened to students present their posters, asked in-depth questions and evaluated the contributions to name one winner per group.
At the end of the second day, the UFFC President’s Reception was hosted by Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb. Dr. Bassiri-Gharb presented IEEE certificates to thank the organizing committee, tutorial speakers, plenary and invited speakers, as well as student paper finalists.
On May 24th, the symposium began with the 2018 W. G. Cady Award presentation. This award was given to Enrico Rubiola for his contributions on noise analysis, signal-source theory, and experimental achievements in the electronic and photonic domains. Then the 2018 C. B. Sawyer Award was presented to Franklin Ascarrunz for his contributions on state-of-art electronics having ever lower noise figures and increased performance.
The last plenary talk “Encapsulated MEMS: What’s Good for the Resonator is Good for the Sensor” was given by Prof. Tom Kenny from Stanford University. At the beginning of his presentation, Prof. Kenny talked about the success of MEMS timing devices based on the epi-seal encapsulation process which enables an ultra-clean environment to greatly improve the stability of the clocks. A similar technique can also be used in sensors to provide a path towards ultra-stable inertial MEMS sensors.
The student paper competition winners were announced during lunch time in the last day of the conference. The symposium was adjourned right after the oral sessions in the afternoon. Most of the attendees stayed up to the last minute! In summary, this was a wonderful conference in a scenic setting with high quality technical content and, most importantly, good friends. We look forward to seeing all of you in Orlando next year!