Atomic Clocks Current Events

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Proposed nuclear clock may keep time with the universe
A proposed new time-keeping system tied to the orbiting of a neutron around an atomic nucleus could have such unprecedented accuracy that it neither gains nor loses 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years -- the age of the universe. (2012-03-08)

Optical Atomic Clock: A long look at the captured atoms
In the case of one of the candidates for an optical clock which is developed at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, an optical grating clock with strontium atoms, the loading of cold atoms into an optical grating has been optimized to such an extent that approx. 106 strontium atoms are loaded into the grating within 150 milliseconds at a temperature of a few microkelvin. There, the atoms remain stored for over one second and are available for a precision measurement of the optical frequency. (2008-02-05)

New POP atomic clock design achieves state-of-the-art frequency stability
Chinese researchers led by DENG Jianliao from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) have developed a pulsed optically pumped (POP) atomic clock with a frequency stability of 10-15 at 104 seconds based on a new design. (2020-04-21)

Precision time: A matter of atoms, clocks, and statistics
Time is of the essence, especially in communications, navigation, and electric power distribution, which all demand nanosecond precision or better. Keeping these beating hearts of technology in near-perfect global synchronization requires the blending of statistics, atomic science, and technological innovations. (2012-02-01)

From now on, 4 PTB primary atomic clocks will contribute to UTC
The new caesium fountain clock CSF2 is admitted into the exclusive international club of primary clocks. (2009-12-21)

NPL scientists help create an extra second of summer
Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory will be adding a leap second at 00:59 BST on July 1 to its atomic clocks, to ensure UK time remains synchronized with international time. (2012-06-29)

NIST helping prepare an 'out of this world' atomic clock
People who require time accurate to one second in 30 million years can get what they need from the time services provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). For those who want even MORE accuracy, NIST -- in conjunction with NASA -- is hard at work to make your dream come true. This release tells all about the atomic clock in space being planned for the International Space Station in 2006. (2002-11-08)

Surveying Earth's interior with atomic clocks
Ultraprecise portable atomic clocks are on the verge of a breakthrough. An international team lead by scientists from the University of Zurich shows that it may be possible to use the latest generation of atomic clocks to resolve structures within the Earth. (2012-11-12)

New 'pendulum' for the Ytterbium clock
At the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, the optical Ytterbium clock has experienced an increase in accuracy. It is exact to 17 digits after the decimal point now. The scientists have succeeded in exciting a quantum-mechanically strongly (2012-03-09)

NIST ytterbium atomic clocks set record for stability
A pair of experimental atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has set a new record for stability. The clocks act like 21st-century pendulums or metronomes that could swing back and forth with perfect timing for a period comparable to the age of the universe. (2013-08-22)

Office of Naval Research to unveil the 'matchbox' atomic clock
How accurate is your kitchen clock? Probably good enough to get you to work on time, but perhaps not good enough for extremely precise ship and aircraft navigation, ground to outer space communications, or missile guidance. In October'03 ONR will unveil the performance of a super-accurate atomic clock no bigger than a matchbox. (2003-09-02)

New NIST time code to boost reception for radio-controlled clocks
NIST is changing the way it broadcasts time signals that synchronize radio-controlled (2013-03-08)

Atom amplifier
A team of ONR-supported MIT researchers led by Wolfgang Ketterle reported in the Dec. 9 issue of Nature that they have created a device that increases the intensity of a beam of atoms. (2000-01-05)

'Tweezer clock' may help tell time more precisely
A new optical atomic clock makes ultra-precise time measurements. (2019-12-23)

The fundamental constants are still constant
Are the fundamental constants really constant? Recent investigations carried out at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt have shown that one essential fundamental constant -- namely the mass ratio of protons to electrons -- can have changed only by a maximum of one part in a million over the age of our solar system (i.e., extrapolated over approximately 5 billion years). Their results have been published in the current issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. (2014-11-18)

Experimental atomic clock uses ytterbium 'pancakes'
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) working with Russian colleagues have significantly improved the design of optical atomic clocks that hold thousands of atoms in a lattice made of intersecting laser beams. The design, in which ytterbium atoms oscillate or (2006-03-06)

NIST atomic clock comparison confirms key assumptions of 'Einstein's elevator'
By comparing different types of remote atomic clocks, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have performed the most accurate test ever of a key principle underlying Albert Einstein's famous theory of general relativity, which describes how gravity relates to space and time. (2018-06-04)

Testing the symmetry of space-time by means of atomic clocks
According to Einstein the speed of light is always the same. But according to theoretical models of quantum gravitation, this uniformity of space-time does not apply to particles. Physicists at the German Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, together with colleagues at the University of Delaware, tried to detect a change in the uniformity of space-time using two optical Ytterbium clocks. Their results are published in the current issue of Nature. (2019-03-13)

JILA strontium atomic clock sets new records in both precision and stability
Heralding a new age of terrific timekeeping, a research group led by a National Institute of Standards and Technology physicist has unveiled an experimental strontium atomic clock that has set new world records for both precision and stability -- key metrics for the performance of a clock. (2014-01-22)

A quantum mechanical 'tune up' for better measurement
By exploiting the weird quantum behavior of atoms, physicists at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a new technique that someday could be used to save weeks of measurements needed to operate ultraprecise atomic clocks. The technique also could be used to improve the precision of other measurement processes such as spectroscopy. (2004-06-04)

New type of atomic clock keeps time even more precisely
An MIT-designed atomic clock uses entangled atoms to keep time even more precisely than its state-of-the-art counterparts. The design could help scientists detect dark matter and study gravity's effect on time. (2020-12-16)

Scientists make atomic clock breakthrough
In a battle against time, a team of researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have helped the world tell time more accurately. (2006-10-12)

More measurement precision in a short time
Researchers from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have thoroughly analyzed the noise processes in their optical lattice clock with neutral strontium atoms. This analysis proves that their optical atomic clock has reached the best stability worldwide thanks to a newly developed laser system whose frequency is extremely stable. This allows high-precision measurements in a short time and considerably facilitates the future reduction of the total measurement uncertainty down to a few parts in 1E18. (2016-02-10)

NIST demonstrates transfer of ultraprecise time signals over a wireless optical channel
By bouncing eye-safe laser pulses off a mirror on a hillside, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have transferred ultra-precise time signals through open air with unprecedented precision equivalent to the (2013-05-01)

NIST's new compact atomic clock design uses cold atoms to boost precision
NIST physicists have demonstrated a compact atomic clock design that relies on cold rubidium atoms instead of the usual hot atoms, a switch that promises improved precision and stability. (2013-11-06)

Researchers develop blueprint for nuclear clock accurate over billions of years
A clock accurate to within a tenth of a second over 14 billion years -- the age of the universe -- is the goal of research being reported this week in the journal Physical Review Letters. The research provides the blueprint for a nuclear clock based on a single thorium ion. (2012-03-19)

Atomic timekeeping, on the go
A new approach may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks. (2014-11-12)

NIST debuts dual atomic clock -- and a new stability record
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have combined two experimental atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms to set yet another world record for clock stability. (2016-11-28)

NIST's next-generation atomic clocks may support official timekeeping
For more than a decade, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been unveiling experimental next-generation atomic clocks. New NIST simulations (link is external) suggest these clocks may now be reliable and practical enough to start contributing to calibrations that support official US civilian time. (2017-11-16)

Quantum noise reduction method for enhanced precision in atomic clocks
Finding ways to reduce quantum noise can enhance the precision of measurement in atomic fountain clocks or in methods used for quantum information processing. A team of physicists including Aranya Bhattacherjee from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and colleagues is now investigating ways of improving the analysis of quantum noise measurement in the case of spectroscopic investigations; their preliminary findings were released in a study in EPJ D. (2017-12-22)

Ytterbium gains ground in quest for next-generation atomic clocks
NIST physicists have improved an experimental atomic clock based on ytterbium atoms, which now about four times more accurate than it was several years ago, giving it a precision comparable to that of the NIST-F1 cesium fountain clock. (2009-08-11)

PER:PER protein pair required for circadian clock function
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered a new protein complex operating in fruit fly circadian clocks, which may also help to regulate our own biological clocks. (2009-04-28)

Thousands of atoms entangled with a single photon
Physicists from MIT and the University of Belgrade have developed a new technique that can successfully entangle 3,000 atoms using only a single photon. The results, published today in the journal Nature, represent the largest number of particles that have ever been mutually entangled experimentally. (2015-03-25)

Mercury atomic clock keeps time with record accuracy
An experimental atomic clock based on a single mercury atom is now at least five times more precise than the national standard clock based on a (2006-07-14)

Timeless thoughts on the definition of time
The earliest definitions of time-interval quantities were based on observed astronomical phenomena. Today's definition of time uses a combination of atomic and astronomical time. However, their connection could be modified in the future to reconcile the divergence between the astronomic and atomic definitions. These are observations made by Judah Levine, author of a riveting paper just published in EPJ H, which provides unprecedented insights into the nature of time and its historical evolution. (2016-03-24)

Physics: Toward a practical nuclear pendulum
Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich have, for the first time, measured the lifetime of an excited state in the nucleus of an unstable element. This is a major step toward a nuclear clock that could keep even better time than today's best atomic timekeepers. (2017-01-27)

NIST method improves reliability of GPS clocks
A statistical method, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and tested and implemented with the help of several collaborators, has made the job of analyzing the accuracy and reliability of Global Positioning System time signals significantly faster and easier. The method will help ensure that GPS clocks produce accurate location and distance measurements and remain closely synchronized with official world time. (2005-10-07)

Controlled nuclear transition will make clocks hugely more precise than atomic ones
A Russian scientist from Skobelitsyn Research Institute of Nuclear Physics, MSU theoretically substantiated that the speed of transition of thorium-229 from ground to excited state may be managed depending on external conditions. The frequency of transitions may be increased or decreased by dozens of times. This effect will help create extremely precise clocks exceeding even the best atomic ones. The article was published in Physical Review Letters journal. (2018-04-24)

A quiet phase: NIST optical tools produce ultra-low-noise microwave signals
By combining advanced laser technologies in a new way, NIST physicists have generated microwave signals that are more pure and stable than those from conventional electronic sources. (2011-06-27)

Optical atomic clock becomes portable
Optical clocks might become more compact and even portable, maybe in the future even travel to space. Scientists of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt have shown how some fundamental difficulties, which a more simple set-up had previously hindered, could be avoided (see current edition of Physical Review Letters). In the next step they want to build such a clock. This clock could help to determine geographical heights more exactly than before. (2009-09-03)

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