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New Personal Atomic Clocks Coming

Previously the best commercial timers could come up with was using quartz crystals for accurate timing. Well this was an enormous improvement over mechanical systems, sScientists have just upped the accuarcy level. They have just created an antomic clock that is 100 times smaller than any previous one AND it is 1000 times more accurate than the quartz crystal.

So what does this mean for you?

  • In wireless communications devices, these clocks could improve network synchronization and channel selection to enhance security and anti-jamming capabilities.
  • In Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, small clocks could improve the precision of satellite-based navigation systems such as those used in commercial and military vehicles and emergency response networks.
  • In addition, as atomic clocks get smaller and cheaper and use less power, they could replace quartz crystal oscillators in many common products such as computers, offering several orders of magnitude better time keeping.

In the meantime I absolutely delight in the current atomic clocks that I own. However they work on an entirely different principle. Once a day they send a radio signal to Boulder, Colorado where they synchronize with the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock which is the primary time and frequency standard for the United States. However, in the future this synchronization will be unnecessary as we will all have our own atomic personal atomic clocks.

National Institute of Standards and Technology August 27, 2004

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