London, Feb 15: Inventors have unveiled the most accurate atomic clock ever made, marking a new leap forward in efforts to improve precision of navigation around the world.
The clock is based on a few thousand strontium atoms trapped in grids of laser light and is twice as accurate the current US time standard based on a ''fountain'' of caesium atoms. The invention is also seen as an attempt to synchronise telecom networks and deep-space communications. The unveiling of the next-generation atomic clock was reported in the journal Science by Dr Jun Ye and colleagues at JILA, US. The team could link the new clock with existing clocks, using a special fibre optic link, which is crucial if the new clock is to be used as a timekeeping standard.
Since strontium atoms absorb higher frequency light than earlier clocks, which rely on longer microwaves, these optical clocks have shorter and more accurate ''ticks''-- 430 trillion per second, the Daily Telegraph reported.