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Research Highlights

Published: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 1:15pm

We all know what a tenth of a second feels like. It’s a jiffy, a snap of the fingers, or a camera shutter click. But what does 14 billion years–the age of the universe–feel like?

JILA’s atomic clock has the precision to measure the age of the universe to within a tenth of a second. That sort of precision is difficult to intuit. Yet, JILA’s atomic clock, which is the most precise clock in the world, continues to improve its precision. The latest jump in precision, of nearly 50 percent, came about from a new perspective.

“The precision of our clock is now about two and half parts in 10 to the 19. Which is an almost impossibly tiny, tiny number to actually realize or understand,” says G. Edward Marti , a JILA postdoc in the Ye group, and integral member of JILA’s atomic clock team. “We know we’re not at the limit of this.”

The atomic clock is more than just an atom. It’s actually a system of thousands of atoms and a very impressive laser. This system works much like an old time-keeping system: a grandfather clock and the sun. A grandfather clock records time by swinging a pendulum back and forth. Similarly, the laser has a ticking electromagnetic field (...

Published: Oct 02, 2005

Scientists in Fellow Jun Ye's lab are developing a high-precision optical atomic clock linked to...

Published: Oct 02, 2005

Giant gas planets don't often stay in orbit where they're formed. They often move...

Published: Oct 01, 2005

Understanding dark matter's role in the distribution of galaxies in the Universe is a...

Published: Oct 01, 2005

Brad Perkins and his thesis advisor Fellow David Nesbitt recently decided to explore what...

Published: Oct 01, 2005

Imagine high-school or college students so excited about physics they can hardly wait to get...

Published: Oct 01, 2005

Graduate students Dave Harber and John Obrecht, postdoc Jeff McGuirk, and Fellow Eric Cornell...

Published: Oct 01, 2005

Gamma-ray jets produced deep within massive stars can blow apart the star when they emerge,...

Published: Oct 01, 2005

For nearly 18 years, JILA Fellow Dick McCray has been studying the brightest supernova to...

Published: Sep 30, 2005

RNA molecules can perform amazing biological feats, including storing, transporting, and...

Published: Aug 09, 2005

Fellow Jan Hall has been working on stabilizing the frequency of lasers since the 1960s. Now, he...

Published: May 11, 2005

Rosalba Perna and colleagues Jonathan Granot of Stanford and Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz of Princeton...

Published: May 01, 2005

Lora Nugent-Glandorf and Tom Perkins have come up with an optical trap motion detector that...

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