The Quantum 3D Atomic Gas Clock: Offers New Dimensions in Measurement.JILA physicists have created a completely new design for an atomic clock, in which strontium atoms are packaged in a small three-dimensional 3-D cube at 1,000 times the density of the previous 1-D one-dimensional clocks. In doing so, they are the first to take advantage of the ultra-controlled behavior of a so-called quantum gas to make a practical measurement device.With so many atoms completely immobilized in place, JILA's cubic quantum gas clock sets a register for a value called the quality factor and the resulting measurement accuracy. A high quality factor results in a high level of synchronization between the atoms and the lasers used to probe them, and makes ticks of the watch pure and stable during an unusually long time, thus achieving greater precision. In contrast, the new cubic quantum gas clock uses a collection of globally interacting atoms to restrict collisions and improve measurements. The new approach promises to usher in an era of dramatically improved measurements and technologies in many areas based on controlled quantum systems.
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