- Scientists from MIT are creating a new, highly accurate atomic clock that uses quantum entry.
- The researchers employed ytterbium atoms and lasers for their approach.
- The wide applications of the accuracy of these clocks can help to find a dark subject and new physics.
MIT scientists have designed a new type of atomic clock that is not only more accurate, but will help detect dark objects and gravitational waves. The researchers hope to have their new clock, which uses atoms in a quantum state, can discover new physics.
Atomic clocks are known to be the most universal. They use lasers to keep tabs on the vibration of oscillating atoms, which move back and forth with a constant frequency as small synchronous rags move back and forth. Cesium atoms, commonly used in atomic clocks, have come to explain what we consider to be second, which is the time it takes for 9,192, 631,770 cycles of normal Cesium-133 movement.
Atomic clocks are so good that if they didn’t run from the first times of our universe, they would only last half a second so far, as the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) press release explains . While such precision is already quite remarkable, scientists are making efforts to make these clocks even more accurate, banking that an improvement in sensitivity could lead to the discovery of new particles and better understand the nature and effects of time.
To accomplish this task, the new clock from MIT scientists uses atoms in a state of quantum engagement rather than those that go down randomly. The concept is somewhat contradictory, quantum engagement describes the effect where grains are connected in a way that affects one affects the other, even if they are at great distances. In other words, measuring the characteristics of one grain affects the characteristics of the other.
This concept, breaking away from the laws of classical physics, helped the researchers measure atomic vibration with much more precision. In fact, their new clock can get to the same level of precision four times faster than non-connected clocks.
How do atomic clocks work?
The study’s lead author Edwin Pedrozo-Peñafiel, MIT postdoc, believes their approach is very promising.
“Improved optical atomic clocks will have the ability to engage in better accuracy in one second than modern optical clocks,” said Pedrozo-Peñafiel.
To create the new atomic clock, scientists took in about 350 atoms of it ytterbium. It has the same oscillation frequency as visible light and activates 100,000 times more often in seconds than cesium. Observing these oscillations with more precision allowed the scientists to identify smaller times, making the clock more accurate.
Forcing the clock to operate requires it to gasify the atoms and capture them in an optical cavity between two mirrors. A laser bullet at the mirrors produced a ping-pong impact as it hit the atoms thousands of times. This, in turn, created a quantum bond between the atoms, giving them similar properties.
The study’s co-author Chi Shu explained how this worked: “It’s as if light serves as a communication link between atoms,” Shu explained. “The first atom that sees this light changes the light slightly, and that light also changes the second atom, and the third atom, and through many circles, the atoms together experience it. each other and begin to behave in the same way. “
Once the implant was established, another laser was employed to measure the average frequency.
The researchers write that their work will lead to many applications across science and technology, with more advances in timekeeping accuracy and precision tests of the fundamental laws of physics, geodesy and detection of a gravitational wave.
Vladan Vuletic, another co-author of the study, commented on their findings:
“As the universe ages, does the speed of light change? Does the cost of the electron change?” Asked Vuletic. “That’s what you can prove with more accurate atomic clocks.”
Take a look at the new study published in the journal Nature.
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