We report observations of the Schawlow-Townes noise limit in a cryogenic sapphire secondary frequency standard. The effect causes a fundamental limit to the frequency stability, and was measured through the novel excitation of a bimodal maser oscillation of a Whispering Gallery doublet at 12.04 GHz. The beat frequency of 10 kHz between the oscillations enabled a sensitive probe for this measurement of fractional frequency instability of 10-14τ-1/2 with only 0.5 pW of output power.
Benmessai, K., Creedon, D. L., Tobar, M., Bourgeois, P. Y., Kersale, Y., & Giordano, V. (2008). Measurement of the Fundamental Thermal Noise Limit in a Cryogenic Sapphire Frequency Standard Using Bimodal Maser Oscillations. Physical Review Letters, 100(23), online - approx 5-20pp. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.233901