Clock Based On Atoms Loses Less Than A Second Over Lifetime Of The Universe
Nick Gilbert
at 16:12 PM Mar 8 2012
Clock Based On Atoms Loses Less Than A Second Over Lifetime Of The Universe
Sorry Big Ben, you're just not good enough anymore
Jon Sullivan, public domain
Tech // 

Australian researchers, in collaboration with international scientists, have come up with an idea for a clock that would lose less than a second over the entire length of time the universe has existed to this point. That's a lot of non-lost seconds, right there.

Keeping a timepiece ticking pricisely over 14 billion years is no mean feat, but when you go about setting it up the way that University of New South Wales Professor Victor Flambaum and his colleagues are planning, you'd expect some precision.

The clock will keep timing by measuring the orbit of a neutron around a nucleus, making it accurate to 19 decimal places, according to an article written on the potential device and accepted by the journal Physical Review Letters.

The time piece will be 100 times more accurate than our best current atomic clocks, according to the Professor, who is Head of Theoretical Physics at UNSW.

“With these clocks currently pushing up against significant accuracy limitations, a next-generation system is desired to explore the realms of extreme measurement precision and further diversified applications unreachable by atomic clocks,” said Professor Flambaum in a press release.

“Atomic clocks use the orbiting electrons of an atom as the clock pendulum. But we have shown that by using lasers to orient the electrons in a very specific way, one can use the orbiting neutron of an atomic nucleus as the clock pendulum, making a so-called nuclear clock with unparalleled accuracy.”

One cannot help but think that such a clock would have helped resolve the superluminal neutrino controversy much sooner. I guess we can't have everything.


comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for the Pop Sci newsletter
Australian Popular Science
PopSci Live