Published: Feb. 3, 2014

A JILA team—led by Physics Professor and JILA Fellow Jun Ye—has created the highest standard in timekeeping. The experimental atomic clock (pictured left) has set new standards for both precision and stability.

According to the University press release, "Described in a new paper in Nature*, the JILA strontium lattice clock is about 50 percent more precise than the record holder of the past few years, NIST’s quantum logic clock. Precision refers to how closely the clock approaches the true resonant frequency at which its reference atoms oscillate between two electronic energy levels. The new strontium clock is so precise it would neither gain nor lose one second in about 5 billion years, if it could operate that long. (This time period is longer than the age of the Earth, an estimated 4.5 billion years old.)"

Image Caption: JILA’s experimental atomic clock based on strontium atoms held in a lattice of laser light is the world's most precise and stable atomic clock. This image is a composite of many photos taken with long exposure times and other techniques to make the lasers more visible. (Image credit: Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA)

Read the press release here.