Washington, Feb 5 (ANI): Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a new version of an atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom which is now the world’s most precise clock. This clock would neither gain nor lose one second in about 3.7 billion years.

The new aluminum atom clock is more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom. The new clock is the second version of NIST’s “quantum logic clock,” so called because it borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing, another major focus of the same NIST research group.

The second version of the logic clock offers more than twice the precision of the original.

NIST scientists evaluated the new logic clock by probing the aluminum ion with a laser to measure the exact resonant frequency at which the ion jumps to a higher-energy state, carefully accounting for all possible deviations such as those caused by ion motions.

No measurement is perfect, so the clock’s precision is determined based on how closely repeated measurements can approach the atom’s exact resonant frequency.

The smaller the deviations from the true value of the resonant frequency, the higher the precision of the clock.

Fifty-six separate comparisons were made each lasting between 15 minutes and 3 hours.

The two logic clocks exhibit virtually identical “tick” rates. Differences don’t show up until measurements are extended to 17 decimal places.

The agreement between the two aluminum clocks is more than 10 times closer than any previous two-clock comparison, with the lowest measurement uncertainty ever achieved in such an evaluation.