British atomic clock is world’s most accurate

(Credit:
National Physical Laboratory)

British and U.S. scientists have confirmed that an atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) near London is the most accurate long-term timekeeper in the world, the NPL said.

The NPL-CsF2 is a cesium fountain clock that’s used as a standard for International Atomic Time and Universal Coordinated Time.

The machine is apparently accurate to within two 10 million billionths of a second. Not bad, I guess.

The NPL’s Krzysztof Szymaniec joined scientists from Pennsylvania State University in evaluating the clock. The team published its results in the journal Metrologia.

The analysis concludes that the clock will lose only a billionth of a second every two months, and represents an unprecedented accuracy. Cesium clocks are usually expected to lose or gain a second over tens of millions of years.

“Together with other improvements of the cesium fountain, these models and numerical calculations have improved the accuracy of the U.K.’s cesium fountain clock, NPL-CsF2, by reducing the uncertainty to 2.3 × 10-16–the lowest value for any primary national standard so far,” Szymaniec was quoted as saying by the NPL. [Read more]

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