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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: Feb 11, 2008

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Published: Feb 10, 2008

Fellow Andrew Hamilton recently confirmed a prediction he made 10 years ago of the location of...

Published: Feb 07, 2008

The Perkins group is helping to develop DNA as a force standard for the nano world. Polymers...

Published: Feb 02, 2008

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Published: Jan 10, 2008

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Published: Oct 01, 2007

In JILA Fellow Dick McCray’s view, the way students learn astronomy is nearly the...

Published: Oct 01, 2007

Fellows Ralph Jimenez and Henry Kapteyn and their groups recently helped develop optical...

Published: Oct 01, 2007

In Fellow Steve Cundiff’s lab, echoes of light are illuminating the quantum world. Former...

Published: Sep 30, 2007

X-rays are notorious for damaging molecules, including those in our bodies. High in the upper...

Published: Jun 15, 2007

In the quantum world inside Fellow Eric Cornell’s lab, communication occurs across a two-...

Published: May 01, 2007

It’s easy to make X-rays. Physicians and dentists make them routinely in their offices...

Published: Apr 27, 2007

Two egg-shaped necklaces of magnificent stars orbit the enormous black hole known as...

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