What is an Atomic Clock?


10:56 AM

1 min read
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Researchers have built a portable optical atomic clock that can be used onboard ships.

About Atomic Clock:

  • An atomic clock is a device that measures time using the vibrations of atoms.
    • Specifically, it uses the oscillations of the electrons in atoms to keep time.
  • It is the most accurate time-keeping device available, with a margin of error of just a few billionths of a second per day.
  • Atomic clocks are far more precise than conventional clocks because atomic oscillationshave a much higher frequency and are much more stable.
  • They are used in many applications that require very precise timing, such as GPS systems,telecommunications networks, and scientific research.
  • How does an atomic clock work?
    • Atomic clocks work by using a type of atom called a "cesium atom".
    • Cesium atoms are very stable and have a very specific frequency at which their electrons vibrate.
    • This frequency is used as the basis for the atomic clock's timekeeping.
    • To measure time using cesium atoms, an atomic clock uses a device called a "microwave cavity".
    • The microwave cavity is a chamber that is filled with cesium vapor.
    • A microwave signal is then sent into the cavity, which causes the cesium atoms to vibrate.
    • As the cesium atoms vibrate, they emit radiation at a very specific frequency.
    • This frequency is then detected by a detector, which compares it to a standard frequency.
    • The difference between the two frequencies is used to adjust the clock's timekeeping.
  • Types of atomic clocks: There are two types of atomic clocks: cesium atomic clocks and hydrogen maser atomic clocks.
    • Cesium atomic clocks are the most common and are used to define the international standard for time, called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
    • Hydrogen maser atomic clocks are even more accurate than cesium atomic clocks and are used in scientific research.

Q1: What is International Standard Time (IST)?

International Standard Time (IST) is the time standard used as the basis for civil time in most countries around the world. IST is based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. IST is defined as UTC+1, which means that it is one hour ahead of UTC.

Source: New portable atomic clock offers very accurate timekeeping at sea