Strontium Optical Atomic Clock
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Strontium Optical Atomic Clock

July 14, 2010
JILA's strontium optical atomic clock is now the world's most accurate clock based on neutral atoms. Shining a blue laser onto ultracold strontium atoms in an optical trap tests how efficiently a previous burst of light from a red laser has boosted the atoms to an excited state. Only those atoms that remain in the lower energy state respond to the blue laser, causing the fluorescence seen here.

This research is partially supported by the National Science Foundation through the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Frontier Center at JILA. To learn more about the world's most accurate clock, see the NSF Discovery story "Coping With Unusual Atomic Collisions Makes an Atomic Clock More Accurate." (Date of Image: 2008)

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