Feeds

Nuke clock incapable of losing time chimes with boffins

Precise to 1/20th of a sec in 14bn years

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The force that binds neutrons to an atom's nucleus could be used to create clocks that are 100 times more accurate than today's best atomic clocks, say physicists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The nuclear clock outlined in a paper accepted for publication in Physics Letters Review would neither lose nor gain 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years, the age of the universe.

The unprecedented accuracy of this new time-keeping comes from linking the system to the orbit of a neutron within an atomic nucleus. That makes it more accurate than atomic clocks, explains Professor Victor Flambaum, Head of Theoretical Physics at UNSW.

Atomic clocks use the orbiting electrons of an atom as the clock pendulum. But we have shown that by using lasers to orient the electrons in a very specific way, one can use the orbiting neutron of an atomic nucleus as the clock pendulum, making a so-called nuclear clock with unparalleled accuracy.

Because the neutron is strongly bound to the nucleus, its oscillation rate is almost completely unaffected by external disturbances, unlike those of an atomic clock's electrons, which are much more loosely bound.

Flambaum and colleague Dr Vladimir Dzuba's ultra-accurate time-keeper would allow scientists to improve modern applications that currently rely on atomic clocks: GPS navigation systems and high-bandwidth data transfer.

It could also help push the boundaries of physics: "It would allow scientists to test fundamental physical theories at unprecedented levels of precision and provide an unmatched tool for applied physics research," said Prof Flambaum. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?