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Redefining time

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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RE: .
By rushnrockt on 8/1/2006 4:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the reply is quite on the ball and you yourself gave support for it. For everything, from food to minerals, that we were supposed to run out of, there were DRASTIC improvement in locating and making of. A simple example is corn, the yield per acre has been increasing for years and still is, despite the supposed "biological" limitations. And it is safe to say that the economics (i.e. need) are the main factor for finding new/better ways of producing more food and other essential materials.


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