Speaker: Professor Patrick Gill
Optical Atomic Clocks - Light Years Ahead?
Watch the recent lecture below:
Since 1967, the microwave caesium atomic clock has formed the basis for the international definition of time, the SI second. The advent of laser cooling methods during the 1980s led to the achievement of cold atom temperatures within a mK above absolute zero, and underpinned the development of cold caesium fountain clocks, the best of which now demonstrate a frequency uncertainty of ~2 parts in 1016. Since the turn of the century, however, the pace of research into alternative technologies based on optical atomic clocks has quickened considerably, such that they now challenge, and in some cases, exceed Cs fountain clock performance, with frequency inaccuracies below 10-17 recently reported. These results not only impact on leading science and technology applications, but also raise the issue of a future redefinition of the second.
Optical clocks are based on state-of-the-art frequency-stabilised lasers probing very weak absorptions in a single cold trapped ion confined by an electromagnetic trap or in an ensemble of cold atoms trapped by light fields. This presentation will briefly point to leading-edge performance and future developments of optical clocks, the need for global intercomparison of such frequency standards and clock systems, and the wider spectrum of applications.
The Inaugural George Daniels Lecture celebrates the life and work of Dr George Daniels CBE, (pictured left) who was considered, during his lifetime by many to be the best horologist in the world and was famous for creating the co-axial escapement which has been used by Omega in their highest-grade watches since 1999.
Professor Patrick Gill is a world-leading expert on the development of cold trapped ion systems as optical frequency standards with potential for future redefinition of the SI second and will in his lecture look to the future of highly accurate time measurement using highly advanced techniques, illustrating the continuous development of time measurement through his work at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK. Professor Gill won the 2008 Young Medal and Prize, awarded by the Institute of Physics for his work in the field.
Event Running Order:
18:00 - Refreshments and Registration
18:30 - Inaugural George Daniels Lecture
19.45 - Reception
21:00 - Close
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When & where
6.00pm - 9.00pmWednesday 18th September 2013