World's smallest atomic clock! - ndbatteries.com

World’s smallest atomic clock!

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Clocks and watches – they are our everyday companions, our faithful time keepers. We regulate our lives according to them. But are they totally trustworthy? Can a precise and perfect timepiece ever exist?

The answer is the atomic clock, which Swiss scientists are developing at CSEM (Centre Suisse d’électronique et microtechnique) in the Swiss city of Neuchatel.

The atomic clock measures time accurately, because it relies on the radiation emitted by atoms. It means that the frequency emitted by atoms of hydrogen are measured, and that gives the reference for the time. The original version of the atomic clock, built in the 90s, was the size of a household washing machine.

But CSEM scientists working in Neuchatel’s old astronomical observatory are moving steadily towards the progressive miniaturisation of the atomic clock. Their goal is to reduce it to the size of a sugar cube.

Miniaturisation will greatly reduce manufacturing costs and power consumption allowing this technology to be used more widely, possibly it could even enter the consumer market in battery-operated devices, like GPS or smart phones.

According to physicist Steve Lecomte, what is known as the heart of the clock is key. It has to be reduced in size to nearly a millimetre: “Minitiarisation is useful in order to put atomic clocks in more instruments and mobile devices. Our ultimate goal here at CSEM is work towards having an atomic timepiece in a wrist-watch.”

Scientists not only hope to install atomic clocks in consumer electronic devices, but they want to use them for scientific purposes, such as verifying Einstein’s theory of relativity.

“If we were to put an atomic clock in a smartphone with a GPS for example, then we’d have a frequency base in the GPS which would allow a faster sychronisation with geo-positioning satellites and therefore a more efficient device,” explained CSEM physicist Jacques Haesler.

“Right now, if you have in a wrist-watch, you have to wind it up from time to time. Maybe every day or every few weeks. With an atomic clock inside, in theory you’ll only need to set it once every 3,000 years, providing of course your battery lasts that long,” he added.

Today the best atomic clocks are able to keep time to the point where they will gain or lose a second, every one billion years, and they are powered by an extremely tiny engine. This miniscule part, only a millimetre across, holds the key to a future in which clocks will always be running on time.

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95 Comments

  1. time is a human invention, time does not actually exist.

  2. will never be a second late anymore!… pfft… im always late

  3. The auto industry will make that difficult with their political agendas.

  4. Great. Another thing that will work long after i have died.

  5. another question..why is the time 2013…i thought life began billion years ago with dinosaurs.

  6. 40 years later…

    (er eerr err ) wtf is my alarm clock

  7. I think iam smarter then you which makes you stupid then if iam an idiot. lol

  8. i thought that was a tit at first..wow i was dead wrong

  9. I think we will need to be able to live 3,000 years first.

  10. Funny, I thought the exact same thing having just watched the movie.

  11. "hey man what time is it"
    "i don't know let me get my microscope"

  12. they going to be late for 1sec at church for their jesus bs..lol

  13. top comment so dumb..have you heard of solar panel on a watch?

  14. Sure, a pulsar CAN be up to 10x more acturate..
    but who needs a watch that's acurate for over 30.000 years.
    3000 seems more then enough.

  15. Do I need a high precision atomic clock in my wristwatch??? I don't think so.

  16. You are right if you're thinking about our every day use of watches.
    When use for GPS purposes, it seems that a few nanoseconds make a very big difference.
    You just have to consider that GPS measures distances based on the time light takes to travel towards them, and light moves very fast, so those time intervals are very small. a few microseconds (one millionth of a second) make diferences in the order of 300 meters.

  17. You are right if you're thinking about our every day use of watches.
    When use for GPS purposes, it seems that a few nanoseconds make a very big difference.
    You just have to consider that GPS measures distances based on the time light takes to travel towards them, and light moves very fast, so those time intervals are very small. a few microseconds (one millionth of a second) make diferences in the order of 300 meters.

  18. Wow, he really butchered the pronounciation of Neuchatel.

  19. That clock is nowhere near as accurate as the best atomic clock made. The most accurate clock loses 1 second in 31,688,800,000 years.

  20. очень качественная съемка !

  21. What i wonder is, why invest money on this ?

  22. But for a mobile phone, that measure of accuracy is unnecessary. Unless you're immortal, of course.

  23. The poor fellow is laboring under the assumption that we still need to wind our watches!

  24. As long as an atomic clock for consumers isn't bigger than a 3.5 inch hard-drive i'd install it in my computer

  25. As of "Whitaker's World of Facts" 2009 edition book by Russell Ash, page 85, it says it's accurate to one second in 300 years.
    As of Wikipedia, it's one second in 300 million years, and as of this video it's 3,000 years. Which is it?

  26. you could just have an electronic watch sync to a server keeping track of the atomic clock

  27. The video is too old, the most precise atomic clock is developed by jun ye in NIST

  28. This is so easy to make just ask all the youtube scientist in here

  29. I think Einstein had it wrong and that time is constant, not the speed of light. I think dark matter density is the limiting factor to the speed of light and that gravity and dark matter density bend/pull on light (and everything else), not 'spacetime'. I think quartz pulses and atomic clocks are induced to operate more slowly when traveling at high velocities in space, slowing our measurements of time, not time itself.

  30. This is out-of-date btw. The worlds smallest clock nowadays is so small, that it can sit on a single atom.

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