STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Japan Clocks Keep Time for 16 Billion Years

Japanese researchers have built a pair of clocks which they say are so accurate they will lose a second only every 16 billion years; longer than the Earth has been around.

Published: 24th February 2015 12:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2015 12:59 AM   |  A+A-

seiko2L

Consul General of Japan Kazuo Minagawa taking a look at the clocks on display.

By PTI

TOKYO: Japanese researchers have built a pair of clocks which they say are so accurate they will lose a second only every 16 billion years -- longer than the Earth has been around.

"Cryogenic optical lattice clocks" are not pretty -- they look more like giant stripped-down desktop computers than ordinary wall clocks -- but they are so precise that current technology cannot even measure them.

The research team led by Hidetoshi Katori, a professor at the University of Tokyo, believes it has taken the technology way beyond the atomic clocks that are currently used to define the "second".

The new clock uses special lasers to trap strontium atoms in tiny grid-like structures, according to the team, which published the study this month in the journal Nature Photonics.

It then measures the frequency of the vibration of the atoms, using them like "the atomic pendulum," according to the study.

The system is so delicate that it must operate in a cold environment, around -180  Celsius (-292 Fahrenheit), to reduce the impact of the surrounding electromagnetic waves and to maintain the machine's accuracy, the team said.

Researchers connected the two clocks for a month, and estimated that it would take some 16 billion years for them to develop a one-second gap.

That is significantly more accurate than the caesium atom clock, used to define "one second", which can develop a one second error every 30 million years, they said.

The technology could be applied to satellite-based global positioning systems and communications networks, while also serving as a foundation for various precision technologies, the team said in a statement.

"Through improved precision, we hold high hopes for accelerated discussions on redefinition of the 'second'," the statement said.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp