New Mercury-Ion Atomic Clock Accurate for 400 Million Years
August 1, 2006 10:21 AM
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According to reports published in the
Physical Review Letter
, the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) published a paper indicating that it had
discovered a new type of atomic clock based on mercury-ion
. The report said that the new atomic clock is so accurate it's nearly 6 times more precise than the current cesium-based atomic clock.
The report said that the NIST currently operates a cesium-based atomic clock called the NIST-F1, which is accurate for roughly 70 million years. If operated continuously, the NIST-F1 would only be off by 1 second after 70 million years. The new mercury-ion atomic clock on the other hand will take 400 million years.
The new experimental clock measures the atomic resonance frequency of a mercury atom. The atom itself is electrically charged and kept in an extremely cold suspension. Using the new mercury-ion atomic clock, scientists at the NIST say that they will be able to conduct more precise experiments and further develop applications that rely on atomic-time accuracy such as GPS systems. Currently, the international standard that defines what one second is relies on cesium-based atomic clocks -- 9,192,631,770 radiation cycles of the change between two energy levels of a cesium atom. The NIST says that it will be five to ten years before we see mercury-ion clocks replace cesium ones.
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8/1/2006 3:14:31 PM
There are boatloads of studies from universities around the globe supporting the global warming trend or theory, more every day..
..but on the other hand, I think there's a little too much worrying, and ten times too much worrying for a thread about an ATOMIC CLOCK.
Global cooling: dump greenhouse gas in to the atmosphere.
Global warming: New study out the other day sez: dump sulfur in to the stratosphere, where even small amounts would stay for up to 2 years and reflect huge amounts of heat back out to space. There's been two or three other plans I've read up on and they're all sensible and relatively cheap. Yeah, billions of dollars, but thats all of about two seconds of imperial misadventure in Iraq, out of a global economy of trillions and trillions, so it's nothing. A small maintenance fee for survival.
Mass extinction is a larger problem it seems to me, along with clean water (at least here in Florida), but both have simple solutions at different price levels.. Water desalination, genetically engineer creatures that, eh, eat sewage and taste like prime-rib and exhales oxygen. No matter what we get ourselves in to, we'll be willing to pay our way out, and there will be people willing to take our money to get us out.
400 million years from now, some species that hails from our heritage but looks nothing like us will still be here, and they'll be a million other places, and still capitalistic as ever. :)
No thanks to fear-mongering, though.
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