High Precision eLoran Clock

Project: Research council


High precision (c.100nsec) electronic clocks are widely employed to synchronize distributed data/communication networks in many sectors (e.g. defence/security, telecommunications, financial, and utilities). These clocks are essential network components and represent a significant global market estimated at c.US$230m pa. The majority of these clocks utilise signals transmitted from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Considerable concern, at governmental level, is developing over the vulnerability of these signals to equipment failure or 'attack' and the resultant disruption, which would ensue from alternative provisions (e.g. Galileo) currently being developed. Significantly, there has been renewed interest and investment in using ground based technologies to 'back up' high precision timing provision, the principle one being the eLORAN system (enhanced LORAN) which is an upgrade of the well established LORAN system. The University of Bath, under STFC funded research into lightning research, has demonstrated the possibility to build a high precision clock, based on the use of eLORAN signals, comparable in performance to GNSS based clocks (Füllekrug, Meas. Sci. Tech., 21, 015901, 2010, and Füllekrug et al., Geophys. Res. Lett., 36(L06104), 2009). It is believed that this technology has the commercial potential for integration into current precision electronic clock products to act as either a 'back up' or as a primary source when GNSS signals are weak or non-existent (see attached letters of support from Motorola and the National Physical Laboratory). The proposed STFC Follow-on Fund project will explore in great detail the market (size, competition) and the route to market options. On the technical side a 'proof of concept' unit will be developed (with a focus on performance and compactness within a target 'production cost'), and supply chain partners and the potential to IP protection will be investigated.
Effective start/end date3/10/112/10/12


Network components
Signal systems
Supply chains
Telecommunication networks