Physicists build world’s most precise clock. Well two actually!

By Thursday, May 30, 2013 0 , , , Permalink 0

According to the researchers the new clock so developed is more accurate than any of the atomic clocks ever developed and if somehow the clock is used to gauge the age of the universe, it would be able to do so with a precision of less than a second. The clock has been described in a paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv.

The clock has been built by first building a lattice trap capable of capturing atoms using a laser and mirrors. The purpose of the lattice trap is to keep the atoms steady such that there is no frequency interference – the problem which is common with other atomic clocks. The lattice trap so built was filled with ytterbium atoms which were then shot at using a second laser to measure their frequencies. According to the team if the clock is allowed to run for 31 billion years it would only be off by less than a second.

There is an issue though. How would one ensure that the clock so built is as accurate as it claims to be? Researchers, in a bid to measure the accuracy, built another clock exactly as the first one and then compared the two. They ran both the clocks for a short period of time to check if they came up with the same time duration. The results! Both the clocks reported same results.

The clock will be used in applications such as hydrology, geology and would allow physicists to carry out tests to find out if things like gravitational red shift change with position.