Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NIST Atomic Fountain Clock Gets Much Better With Time

Date:
September 26, 2005
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
The world's best clock, NIST-F1, has been improved over the past few years and now measures time and frequency more than twice as accurately as it did in 1999 when first used as a national standard, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report. The improved version of NIST-F1 would neither gain nor lose one second in 60 million years, according to a paper published online Sept. 13 by the journal Metrologia.

NIST researchers (left to right) Steven Jefferts, Elizabeth Donley, and Tom Heavner with NIST F1, the world's best clock (as of Sept. 2005). The clock uses a fountain-like movement of cesium atoms to determine the length of the second so accurately that—if it were to run continuously—it would neither lose nor gain one second in 60 million years. ( 05 Geoffrey Wheeler Photography)

The world’s best clock, NIST-F1, has been improved over thepast few years and now measures time and frequency more than twice asaccurately as it did in 1999 when first used as a national standard,physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)report.

Related Articles


The improved version of NIST-F1 would neither gain norlose one second in 60 million years, according to a paper publishedonline Sept. 13 by the journal Metrologia.* NIST-F1 uses afountain-like movement of cesium atoms to determine the length of thesecond. The clock measures the natural oscillations of the atoms toproduce more than 9 billion "ticks" per second. These results thencontribute to the international group of atomic clocks that define theofficial world time. NIST-F1 has been formally evaluated 15 times since1999; in its record performance, it measured the second with anuncertainty of 0.53 10-15

The improved accuracy isdue largely to three factors, according to Tom Parker, leader of theNIST atomic standards research group. First, better lasers, softwareand other components have made the entire NIST-F1 system much morereliable and able to operate for longer periods of time. Second, theatoms in the cesium vapor are now spread out over a much larger volumeof space, reducing the frequency shifts caused by interactions amongthe atoms. (The formerly round cloud of atoms is now shaped like ashort cigar.) Third, scientists are now better able to control magneticfields within the clock and quantify the corrections needed tocompensate for their effects on the atoms.

Improved time andfrequency standards have many applications. For instance, ultrapreciseclocks can be used to improve synchronization in precision navigationand positioning systems, telecommunications networks, and wireless anddeep-space communications. Better frequency standards can be used toimprove probes of magnetic and gravitational fields for security andmedical applications, and to measure whether “fundamental constants”used in scientific research might be varying over time—a question thathas enormous implications for understanding the origins and ultimatefate of the universe.

###

* T.P. Heavner, S.R. Jefferts, E.A. Donley, J.H. Shirley, T.E.Parker. 2005. NIST-F1: Recent improvements and accuracy evaluations.Metrologia (October 2005). Posted online Sept. 13.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "NIST Atomic Fountain Clock Gets Much Better With Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926080117.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2005, September 26). NIST Atomic Fountain Clock Gets Much Better With Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926080117.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "NIST Atomic Fountain Clock Gets Much Better With Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926080117.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Star Wars-Inspired Prototype Creates Holographic Display

Star Wars-Inspired Prototype Creates Holographic Display

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) A prototype holographic display named Leia - after the Star Wars princess who appeared in holographic form asking Obi-Wan Kenobu for help - is demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA and Samsung Launch Embedded Wireless Charging Range

IKEA and Samsung Launch Embedded Wireless Charging Range

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Samsung and IKEA hope their new embedded wireless charging products, launched at Barcelona&apos;s Mobile World Congress, will tempt consumers eager for plugless power. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Samsung Unveils $30,000 'Dream Doghouse'

Samsung Unveils $30,000 'Dream Doghouse'

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) On display at the Crufts dog show in England, the &apos;dog kennel of the future&apos; comes with features like a doggie treadmill and Samsung tablet. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins