New 3D Quantum Gas Atomic clock is the most precise clock ever built

Following a transformation from 1-dimensional to 3-dimensional a new atomic clock has been designed, which is considered as the most accurate clock ever made or we can say the most precise timekeeper in existence –just 3.5 parts error in 10 quintillions (1 followed by 19 zeroes) in two hours.

The clock is built by physicists of JILA- a collaboration between the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 2015 also, JILA built the world’s most precise clock. It was a 1-D atomic clock and had a precision of 2 parts error in 1 quintillion (18 zeroes), and could keep time without losing or gaining a second for 15 billion years

But this time it has taken the innovation and accuracy to another level. It has created an entirely new-design atomic clock inside which strontium atoms are packed into a 3-D cube at 1000 times the density of previous 1-D clocks. Thus, JILA has become the first agency to harness the harness the ultra-controlled behavior of a so-called “quantum gas” to make a practical measurement device.

NIST physicist Jun Ye said that they have entered a really exciting time when they can quantum engineer a state of matter for a particular measurement purpose. Actually, atomic clocks keep time with respect to the behavior of the electrons around the atoms of the quantum gas when exposed to radiation. The frequency of this electron is considered as the basis for keeping time in atomic clocks.

Quantum gas is a phase of matter that contains a large number of fermions. And unlike the traditional thermal gases used in normal atomic clocks, this Fermi gas restricts all the atomic properties. Also, as the gas is packed inside a 3-D cube, it minimises collisions and vastly enhances accuracy. Ye also added that the most important potential of the 3-D quantum gas clock is the ability to scale up the atom numbers, which leads lead to a huge gain in stability.

Thomas O’Brien, Ye’s supervisor, said that this approach holds enormous promise for NIST and JILA to harness quantum correlations for a broad range of measurements and new technologies, far beyond timing. This research of JILA was published in the journal Science

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