Perfect Stocking Stuffer: The New Quantum Logic Clock

Finally, I can throw out that cheap atomic clock in my basement. For years, I have been complaining that, no matter how much I tweak by atomic clock, it is always off a second every billion years. Now, for that difficult to buy for family member who has everything, James Chou and his colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have developed a laser-controlled quantum logic clock that oscillates at a frequency of 1.12×10^15 times per second — a million times faster than the speed of light. The only problem is that it does not tell time and does not yet come in a wrist version. However, these researchers brilliantly released the clock before Christmas.

The quantum logic clock uses a laser to count the ticks — which bounces off an aluminum ion. No winding needed.

The clock is intended to measure the results of Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity — which posit that time is not constant. Indeed, time can slow down for one person in relation to another. Moreover, objects with a lot of mass, like the earth, can bend the fabric of time and space.

Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, is quoted as saying “to me, it means a lot that we can measure the fact that spacetime is curved here in my house.” Note to self, arrive early for dinners at Professor Carroll’s house.

For me, the clock is essential to read the exact time that the Bears defeated the Eagles on Sunday — proving not just the need for more accurate time machines but proof of an all-knowing, all-loving God.

Source: PBS

4 thoughts on “Perfect Stocking Stuffer: The New Quantum Logic Clock”

  1. A while back I read that even current atomic clocks can see gravitational slowing over the height change of 1/2 meter (18 inches). That’s not a biggie for us, but a hypothetical optical computer in 30 years?….

    BTW this is a significant factor with the GPS satellites (which all contain atomic clocks). The time variance is miniscule but even a nanosecond off – that is one part in a billion – is going correspond to a very significant error on the ground.

  2. How many times did one of my teachers/professors implore me to pay attention to dimensions and units?

    Since when is “the speed of light” a “frequency,” such that the speed of light is any multiple of any frequency, per se?

    Dimensions of speed: units of distance per unit(s) of time.

    Dimensions of frequency” cycles per unit(s) of time.

    Distance not equals cycles, since a cycle ends where it starts.

    Oh, no! Have I done it again?

    Have I blundered into an attempt at thinking accurately?

    Forgive me.

  3. Time is on my side….


    Not sure which one works…

  4. Prof.,
    That Turkey Bowl victory by the “Bears” must have gotten them ready for yesterday’s victory against the Vick and the Eagles. When will these new clocks be available to purchase at Best Buy?

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