Japan Team Takes Step Closer to Ultraprecise Nuclear Clock

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Sept. 24 (Jiji Press)--A team including Okayama University scientists has said it took a major step closer to realizing a "nuclear clock" accurate to within one second in 300 billion years.

The team succeeded in producing a special state of atomic nuclei necessary to create a nuclear clock, according to a study published recently in the online edition of the British journal Nature.

Nuclear clocks, which would be far more precise than existing atomic clocks, are expected to be used not just for accurate timekeeping but also for uncovering the secrets of the universe's accelerated expansion.

A cesium-based atomic clock, currently used to define a second, is accurate to within one second in tens of millions of years.

In the study, researchers including Prof. Koji Yoshimura of Okayama University's Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Science at in Okayama, western Japan, succeeded in putting thorium-229 nuclei in an excited state in which the nuclei have absorbed energy from outside.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press