Scientists are hoping to redefine the second – here's why - Deepstash

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Measuring Time

We usually check the time using smartwatches and smartphones, which have clocks tallying the time with signals from atomic clocks, some of which are installed on GPS satellites.

The signals from atomic clocks are now becoming increasingly accurate, allowing us to measure gravity waves in ways previously unimaginable.

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The Start Of Calculating Time

The Start Of Calculating Time

The oscillator, invented by Christiaan Huygens and used in most mechanical clocks, measures time with resonance, a pendulum of a fixed length moving back and forth.

This frequency mapping of oscillating movement was improvised in the 18th century by John Harrison.

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Modern Clocks: Quartz Crystal To Atomic

Quartz crystal, a tiny musical tuning fork of high frequency and stability, is used in most modern clocks. The atomic clock, which all our normal clocks check to discipline themselves, was first built by Louis Essen. It worked by calculating the flipping frequency of electrons in caesium atoms. The frequency is so sharp that one second is exactly 9,192,631,770 caesium electron spin flips.

GPS technology, something found on every smartphone, has the accuracy of atomic clocks built-in.

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Better Than Atomic Clocks

Ultra-fast lasers, linked to atomic clocks, creates a new kind of optical atomic clock that is being researched by scientists. It is about a hundred times more precise than previous atomic spin measurements.

Such hyper-accurate time using laser beams provides new ways for scientists to detect space-time distortion, volcanic eruptions, and distant gravitational waves.

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