Browse Definitions :
Definition

atomic clock (NIST-F1)

An atomic clock is the most accurate type of timepiece in the world, designed to measure time according to vibrations within atoms. NIST-F1, the United States' standard atomic clock, is said to be so accurate that it would neither gain nor lose a second in over 30 million years. Atomic clocks are used to coordinate systems that require extreme precision, such as Global Positioning System ( GPS ) navigation and the Internet. A group of atomic clocks located in a number of places throughout the world is used in conjunction to establish Coordinated Universal Time ( UTC ).

Like a regular clock, an atomic clock keeps time according to oscillation, which is a periodic variation or movement between two entities or between two states of a single entity, created by changes in energy. In a pendulum-driven clock, for example, the oscillation is the back and forth movement of the pendulum (the oscillator ). Such a clock keeps time according to the frequency of the pendulum's swing, which will be more or less accurate, depending on a number of variables. The precision of an atomic clock, on the other hand, depends upon the fact that an atom, caused to oscillate, will always vibrate at the same frequency.

In 1945, Isidor Rabi, a physics professor at Columbia University, proposed that atomic vibrations could be used to keep time, based on something he'd developed called atomic beam magnetic resonance. Four years later, the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology ) had developed an atomic clock that used the vibrations of ammonia molecules. NIST-F1, the United States' current standard, uses cesium atoms; it and a similar atomic clock standard in Paris are the most accurate timepieces ever made.

The first commercial cesium-based atomic clocks were manufactured by the National Company, a Massachusetts-based firm; Frequency Electronics, FTS, and Hewlett-Packard ( HP ) are among the companies producing them today. Atomic clocks have never been widely used in consumer products because they are typically large and use too much power. Recently, however, NIST developed an atomic clockwork that overcomes these problems. About the size of a grain of rice and accurate to within one second in 126 years, the new mechanism could soon be manufactured on computer chips and used in consumer market handheld devices, such as radios, GPS systems, and cellular telephones.

This was last updated in March 2011

Continue Reading About atomic clock (NIST-F1)

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Just reading the English translation of Einstein's article on "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies" and noticed a comment in Section 5 - "7 Not a pendulum-clock, which is physically a system to which the Earth belongs. This
case had to be excluded". My assumption has been that all clocks measure the same equivalent time. Can anyone explain why a pendulum clock is different? Newton actually took account of pendulum clock differences at different latitudes in The Principia.
Cancel
hey,its nice content but little more bit in http://knowledgeistheweapon.blogspot.in/.go and find it
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • time-based one-time password (TOTP)

    A time-based one-time password (TOTP) is a temporary code, generated by an algorithm, for use in authenticating access to ...

  • Security Operations Center (SOC)

    A security operations center (SOC) is a command center facility for a team of IT professionals with expertise in information ...

  • incident response team

    An incident response team is a group of IT professionals in charge of preparing for and reacting to any type of organizational ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

  • business continuity software

    Business continuity software is an application or suite designed to make business continuity planning/business continuity ...

SearchStorage

  • storage class memory (SCM)

    Storage class memory (SCM) is a type of NAND flash that includes a power source to ensure that data won't be lost due to a system...

  • Hadoop as a service (HaaS)

    Hadoop as a service (HaaS), also known as Hadoop in the cloud, is a big data analytics framework that stores and analyzes data in...

  • blockchain storage

    Blockchain storage is a way of saving data in a decentralized network which utilizes the unused hard disk space of users across ...

Close