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Scientists develop most precise atomic clock

 
 
 
 
 
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The most precise experimental atomic clock has been developed in the United States that neither loses nor gains a second in five billion years.

The newly created experimental strontium clock has set new world records for both precision and stability, the researchers claim.

The finding was achieved by a team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, United States.

The clock includes a few thousand atoms of strontium kept in a column of about 100 pancake-shaped traps called an optical lattice formed by intense laser light.

“Scientists detect the strontium atoms’ ticks (430 trillion per second ) by bathing the atoms in very stable red laser light at the exact frequency that prompts the atoms to switch or tick, between energy levels.”

The clock is placed in a laboratory at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, operated by the NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder on the university’s campus.

The JILA strontium lattice clock is nearly 50 percent more accurate than the record holder of the past few years, NIST’s quantum logic clock, according to a report published the journal Nature.

“We already have plans to push the performance even more,” said the research fellow and group leader Jun Ye.

“You can expect more new breakthroughs in our clocks in the next five to 10 years,” he also noted.

“Clock technology advanced from merely ticking off the hours to keeping track of every minute and every second. It was a huge change that today we take utterly for granted,” said an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester Adam Frank.

Rochester, who wrote a book titled About Time, says “while it may not be apparent now how new atomic clocks might change our experience of time, someday people may interface directly with computers and become aware of fractions of seconds.”

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