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  An extended test of the performance characteristics of a clock or oscillator. A characterization involves more work than a typical calibration. The device under test is usually measured for a long period of time (days or weeks), and sometimes, a series of measurements is made under different environmental conditions. A characterization is often used to determine the types of noise that limit the uncertainty of the measurement and the sensitivity of the device to environmental changes.
NIST IR 8323r1 from NIST T&F Glossary