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Physicists create two of the most precise clocks ever developed

An image of the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock

For decades cesium atomic clocks have been widely instrumental in helping scientists and engineers perform precision experiments and considered to be the most accurate time instruments ever developed.  Now a team of physicists claims to have developed a pair of clocks so precise that they can keep time with the precision of one part in 10^-18.

An Andrew Ludlow who is with the National Institute of Standards and Technology of Boulder, Colorado unveiled the clocks recently along with a team of his associates. To emphasize the accuracy of these clocks, Ludlow said, “A measurement at the 10^-18 fractional level is equivalent to specifying the age of the known universe to a precision of less than one second or Earth’s diameter to less than the width of an atom.”

Atomic clocks, which have been around for many decades, have helped us develop many useful tools and gadgets we often take for granted.  For example, the global positioning system was developed with the atomic clock’s help along with important tests of fundamental constant variation.

With this latest development that they call next-generation optical atomic clocks, it will help scientists and researchers with all manner of new scientific breakthroughs, which include but are not limited to things such as telescopy, space navigation and new tests in physics.

The two clocks used for their example are two optical lattice clocks that make use of spin-polarized, ultracold atomic ytterbium. According to the data provided, these clocks demonstrate a mind boggling instability of $\bm{1.6\times 10^{-18}}$ after only $\bm{7}$ hours of averaging.

Jack Taylor
Jack Taylor is an accomplished writer who works as a freelance journalist and has contributed to many award winning media agencies, which includes VRzone. Born in 1971, Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Journalism, graduating Magna Cum Laude. An eclectic writer, Taylor specializes in editorials, trending technologies and controversial topics such as hacktivism and government spying.

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