Quantum clocks will become more real and real-world technology thanks to new research conducted by scientists from Birmingham University under the leadership of the British Quantum Technology, Sensor and Synchronization Centre
Scientists have developed a solution: a special package, which is a box of about 120 litres and weighing less than 75 kg, published in the magazine Quantum Science and Technology.
The new design is based on an ultra-high vacuum chamber, smaller than any one previously used in quantum time accounting. This chamber can be used to capture atoms and then cool them down to a value very close to zero, so they have reached a state where they can be used for precision quantum sensors.
The Physicians were able to capture nearly 160,000 ultra-cold atoms inside the cell in less than a second, and they also showed that they could transport the system over 200 km before setting it up to take measurements in less than 90 minutes. The system was able to withstand a temperature increase of 8 degrees above the room during transport.
The lead author of the new work, Dr. Yogeshwar Kale, noted in a press release for the new study that "stable and accurate optical clocks make them critical for many future information networks and communications".
Once people have a system ready for use outside the laboratory, scientists will be able to use them, for example, in terrestrial navigation networks, where all such clocks are connected through optical fibres and begin to communicate with each other. Such networks will reduce human dependence on GPS systems that can sometimes cause malfunctions.
"These portable optical clocks will not only help to improve geodetic measurements — the fundamental properties of the shape of the Earth and the changing intensity of gravity — but will also serve as predecessors for monitoring and identifying geodynamic signals, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions at an early stage" is concluded by scientists.