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The Superconducting Cavity Stabilized Ruby Maser Oscillator,

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Analysis of an application of the ruby maser to a superconducting Cavity Stabilized oscillator shows many attractive features. These derive from the mechanical stability inherent in an all-cryogenic design and from the properties of the ruby maser itself. A multiple-cavity design has been developed to allow physical separation of the high-Q superconducting cavity and the ruby element with its required applied magnetic field. Mode selection is accomplished in this design by tuning the ruby by mans of the applied field. We conclude that such an oscillator would perform well, even with cavity Qs as low as 10 to the 8th power allowing the use of a superconductor-on-sapphire resonator with its greater rigidity and lower thermal expansion. A first test of the Superconducting Cavity Stabilized Maser Oscillator SCSMO confirms the efficacy of the multiple-cavity design and the applicability of the ruby maser. Frequency variation less than 4x10 to the minus 11th power was measured in the stabilized mode and is attributed to the reference oscillator and to instabilities in the pump source. Variation of 10 to the minus 10th power was observed in the low-Q unstabilized mode, again attributable to pump fluctuations. Even so, direct scaling to a Q of 10 to the 9th power predicts a stability better than 10 to the minus 15th power. Together with results showing the lowest losses to date in sapphire at microwave frequencies, and preliminary experiments on superconductor-on-sapphire resonators, frequency stability, levels as low as 10 to the minus 17th power are indicated.

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