News > Neutron-based clock could remain accurate for billions of years
Neutron-based clock could remain accurate for billions of years
The nuclear clock could allow "unprecedented level

A new form of atomic clock could last as long as the lifespan of the entire universe so far.

Professor Victor Flambaum of the University of New South Wales School of Physics has found a way to use the orbit of an atom's neutron as a clock that could be 100 times more accurate than current atomic clocks, which measure the orbit of electrons.

"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," says Flambaum, "making a so-called nuclear clock with unparalleled accuracy."

Flambaum's research, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, describes a clock that can remain accurate to 19 decimal places or a twentieth of a second and would only need to be reset every 14 billion years.

The best atomic clocks are accurate for over a hundred million years, which is fine for most practical applications. However, the nuclear clock could allow "unprecedented levels of precision" in physics experiments or other situations that require extremely fine measurement.

 

News Source : BBC News
Last updated at : 20 March,2012
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