IFCS-EFTF 2019 in Orlando, Florida

July 19, 2019 | Contributed By - Wei-Chang Li

The 2019 joint EFTF (European Frequency and Time Forum) & IFCS (IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium) meeting was successfully held at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida—“the city beautiful”, from April 14th to 18th, 2019. This is the NINTH joint meeting since the first IFCS-EFTF joint meeting held 20 years ago in 1999.

Orlando, located in central Florida, is well known as the theme park capital of the world and for wonderful natures and wild aspects, providing an excellent place for the attendees to explore after the conference. The city offers many great locations for holding conferences—like the conference venue, Caribe Royale Resort, that is a spacious convention center which organization of  presentations, exhibition, and events in close proximity.

IFCS-EFTF 2019 conference venue: Caribe Royale Resort, Orlando, Florida

The conference began on Monday April 15th with welcome speeches from the General Co-chair, Debra Coler and Gaetano Mileti, and IEEE-UFFC President, Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb. As in previous joint meetings, several awards, including two IFCS awards—I. I. Rabi Award and W. G. Cady Award and three EFTF awards—European Frequency and Time Award, EFTF Young Scientist Award, and Marcel Ecabert Award, were presented at the beginning of Days 1 and 2 before the plenary talks. The I. I. Rabi Award was given to Dr. Steven Jefferts for his exceptional leadership in the design, development, and operation of cold-atom microwave atomic clocks and the 2019 W. G. Cady Award to Dr. Serge Galliou for pioneering the development of extremely high Q cryogenic Bulk Acoustic Resonators for sensing, oscillators, and fundamental applications.

Welcome speeches by the General Co-chair, Debra Coler and Gaetano Mileti.

Welcome speech by IEEE-UFFC president, Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb

The 2019 I. I. Rabi Award was given to Dr. Steven Jefferts. From left: Dr. Elizabeth Donley (VP for FC), Dr. James Camparo (Awards Chair), and Dr. Steven Jefferts.

The 2019 W. G. Cady Award goes to Dr. Serge Galliou. From left: Dr. James Camparo (Awards Chair), Dr. Michael Tobar, and Dr. Steven Jefferts.

Technical program

The three outstanding and inspiring plenary talks were presented on each of the mornings from Monday (4/15) to Wednesday (4/17). The first plenary was given by Dr. Martin Milton on “The new definitions of the base units of the SI: using the rules of nature to create the rules of measurement.” Dr. Milton discussed the recent changes on the definition of the SI unit system. The General Conference on Weights and Measures has recently agreed to change the definitions of the SI unit system to the laws of nature enabled by new measurement methods based on quantum phenomena. For example, following the agreement, the kilogram unit now is based on the Planck constant instead of the International Prototype of kg. Although this seems to be a significant change, great attention has been paid to ensure the compatibility so that all of the users would not notice the changes. On Tuesday (4/16), Prof. Michal Lipson from Columbia University presented “Optical Combs On-Chip.” In her plenary talk, she presented the recent progress towards the integrated silicon nanophotonics—in particular, optical frequency comb generators can be made by a laser pointer as the CW laser source running on a AAA battery. The last plenary speech was given by Prof. Morgan Mitchell on “Sensing with Squeezed and Entangled States of Light and Atoms.” Prof. Mitchell presented the efforts made to reduce the quantum noise and push the limits of atomic instruments.

Plenary Talk by Dr. Martin Milton on “The new definitions of the base units of the SI: using the rules of nature to create the rules of measurement”


Plenary talk by Prof. Michal Lipson from Columbia University on “Optical Combs On-Chip”


The last plenary speech was given by Prof. Morgan Mitchell on “Sensing with Squeezed and Entangled States of Light and Atoms”

Prior to the opening of the conference, a set of tutorial sessions was provided by fifteen renowned lecturers. They covered precise time and navigation, phase noise in micro/nano atomic clocks and sensors, optical clocks, frequency combs, frequency and time transfer, MEMS oscillators, opto-mechanical oscillators, and emerging 2D devices. All these subjects closely track the state-of-the-art technologies in frequency control areas.

There were 326 submitted abstracts from 26 countries this year. The submissions were carefully reviewed by 152 technical program committees from the six technical groups. The selected presentations included 154 lectures and 249 posters. Among these, 2 invited lectures from each technical group were given throughout the lecture sessions.


This year’s conference attracted a huge group of exhibitors—26 of them in total. The exhibits took place throughout the entire conference and the coffee breaks were held in the exhibit hall so attendees could browse the exhibits during the breaks. There was also a wonderful exhibitor reception event on Tuesday evening for mingling.

Exhibitor reception on Tuesday evening

President’s Reception

The President’s Reception was held on Monday evening to appreciate the efforts provided by the organizing committees, TPC group chairs, tutorial speakers, plenary and invited speakers, as well as to present the certificates to student paper finalists.

Certificates were distributed in the President Reception

Four to five students were nominated from each of the six technical groups based on their submitted abstracts. The IFCS student best paper competition was held during the 1st poster session on Monday. At the conference, a team of judges for each technical group viewed presentations by each poster’s student author. Judges asked in-depth questions and each team of judges subsequently held discussions to select a single winner from the group. The six best paper winners were announced at the Gala dinner.


The IEEE WIE luncheon was held on Tuesday. A talk was delivered by Miss Kim Meninger (Executive Coach and Founder, Executive Career Success, LLC.) during the lunch event. The workshop included discussions on using self-promotion strategies which enable to raise one’s visibility and influence in the workforce thereby allowing a faster advancement in career. The main focus of the talk was the broader challenges faced by women in the workplace and what can be done to overcome them on a personal and professional level.

IEEE WIE lunch event

Gala Dinner

The Gala dinner of the 2019 IFCS was definitely a hit! The Gala dinner was held in the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, located about one hour away from the conference venue. Upon arrival, we walked through the fascinating rocket garden in the visitor complex and took bus to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. The Gala dinner took place in the center and we have had a wonderful dinner right underneath the Apollo/Saturn V rocket! The biggest highlight of the Gala dinner is meeting with Dr. Don Thomas, a former astronaut. Dr. Thomas gave an inspiring and uplifting speech after the dinner on the story that he never gave up on his dream as an astronaut and finally got selected as well as on the life in space.

The IFCS-EFTF 2019 was absolutely a very successful conference. As the legacy of the conference, the annual event engages the interests of both academy and industry and provides an excellent opportunity for updating and sharing the latest research results with the experts in the field. The numerous social events were well organized and the attendees enjoy them very much. We look forward to seeing all of you at the 2020 IEEE IFCS in Keystone, Colorado!