[time-nuts] Shrinking Atomic Clocks

Lux, James P james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sun Mar 15 23:53:28 UTC 2009

On 3/15/09 2:46 PM, "Thomas A. Frank" <ka2cdk at cox.net> wrote:

> Time to shrink the atomic clock
> 14 March 2009 by Anil Ananthaswamy
> Magazine issue 2699. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
> ATOMIC clocks, currently the size of fridges, could shrink to the
> microscale thanks to a new way of measuring the second. The technique
> could also see aluminium displace caesium as the standard of time.

Mind you, there's lots of atomic clocks that are smaller than a
refrigerator.. Rb and Cs oscillators are used on spacecraft like the GPS

There's also John Prestage's trapped mercury ion clock that he's developing
at JPL. The "1 liter" clock, that when it's done will probably displace the
traditional Ultra Stable Oscillator (USO), as well as make all sorts of
interesting one-way ranging applications from deep space possible.  Think of
this as something comparable to a Hydrogen maser in performance.


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