The world's most accurate clocks err by just a second in 5 billion years

Outwardly, the most accurate watch in the world bears little resemblance to a familiar device. In fact, this device is called a strontium chronometer, which, due to its stability, is only erroneous for a second over 5 billion years.

Not satisfied with the precision of a quantum clock that loses one second in 3.7 billion years, scientists from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Colorado State University have developed a unique new clock. The clockwork is represented by several thousand neutral strontium atoms, which, when irradiated by a special laser, 430 trillion times per second pass from one energy level to another.

Such accuracy is in demand, first of all, as a standard of time and in carrying out some scientific experiments. It takes just a few moments to set up such a clock. In addition, they are much more accurate than their atomic counterparts, in particular, compared to ytterbium clocks - by 50%.

The strontium chronometer broke the last world record for hourly precision and stability, which was set in 1990 by a cesium atomic clock. A leap in progress in the field of experimental atomic clocks has occurred over the past decade and even surprised some scientists at NIST. However, the developers are not going to stop there.

“We already have plans to improve productivity, ” says research team leader Yang Ye. “Even our current development is just average data. You can count on new breakthroughs in precision watches in the next 5-10 years. "

The development of the most accurate watches has already contributed to scientific research around the world and is expected to lead to new technologies and devices. For example, super-sensors for things like gravity or temperature.