Dec 25, 2020

MIT’s quantum entangled atomic clock could still be ticking after billions of years

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Famous medieval poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer once wrote that “‘time and tide wait for no man,” and that certainly rings true whether you’ve still got a ’90s Swatch watch strapped to your wrist, your name is Doc Brown, or you’re a brilliant scientist working on the latest atomic clock design — which employs lasers to trap and measure oscillations of quantum entangled atoms to maintain precise timekeeping.

The official time for the United States is set at the atomic clock located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, where this Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock remains accurate to within one second every 300 million years. Its cesium-133 atom vibrates exactly 9, 192, 631, 770 times per second, a permanent statistic that has officially measured one second since the machine’s inception and operational rollout back in 1968.

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