Quantum Clocks + Entanglement + Tweezers + Atoms = ?

JILA’s novel atomic clock design offers ‘tweezer’ control

Excerpts and salient points ~

+  JILA physicists have demonstrated a novel atomic clock design that combines near-continuous operation with strong signals and high stability, features not previously found together in a single type of next-generation atomic clock. The new clock, which uses laser “tweezers” to trap, control and isolate the atoms, also offers unique possibilities for enhancing clock performance using the tricks of quantum physics.

“The tweezer design addresses various issues with other atomic clocks,” Kaufman said. “Using our technique, we can hold onto atoms and reuse them for as long as 16 seconds, which improves the duty cycle—the fraction of time spent using the atoms’ ticking to correct the laser frequency—and precision. The tweezer clock can also get a single atom very rapidly into a trap site, which means there is less interference and you get a more stable signal for a longer time.”

+  While JILA researchers have yet to fully evaluate the new clock’s performance, preliminary data suggest the design is promising. The tweezer clock is “on duty” self-verifying its performance 96% of the time because it needs little downtime to prepare new atoms, and the atoms are well-isolated so they are less likely to interfere with one another. Both of these strengths are shared with one of the world’s leading clocks, a clock based on a single ion (electrically charged atom). The tweezer clock also can provide the strong signals and stability of a multi-atom lattice clock, which traps atoms in a grid of laser light.

+  The research team now plans to build a larger clock and formally evaluate its performance. Specifically, the researchers plan to use more tweezers and atoms, with a target of about 150 atoms. Kaufman also plans to add entanglement, which could improve clock sensitivity and performance and, in a separate application, perhaps provide a new platform for quantum computing and simulation.

Source:  PHYS.ORG.  NIST,  JILA’s novel atomic clock design offers ‘tweezer’ control…

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