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Teaching Tuesday 2: How Does the Atomic Clock Work?

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Atomic clocks - the most accurate timekeeping mechanism currently known to man. Radiation, vibration, and... quartz? And interesting mix like something straight out of a Star Trek episode.

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Teaching Tuesday 2: How Does the Atomic Clock Work?

  1. 1. Teaching Tuesday #2
  2. 2. What is time? (in physics)
  3. 3. Pendulum
  4. 4. Pendulum
  5. 5. 1927: SiO2 - Quartz
  6. 6. Resonating Quartz vibrates at a specific frequency when hit with electricity
  7. 7. Piezoelectricity Producing electricity from pressure and/or heat - mechanical stress
  8. 8. Piezoelectricity: applications ● Stove lighter ● Accelerometer ● Energy Harvesting (floor surfaces, smartwear, shoes) ● Watches!
  9. 9. Quartz Watch - Reverse Piezoelectric - Quartz has a specific vibration: 32768Hz - 2^15Hz - Power of 2 makes it translatable to 1Hz and thereby seconds, one cycle per second - New electric current drives seconds hand
  10. 10. Quartz Watch - not perfect! Can lose up to 0.06 Hz due to temperature! Loses time!
  11. 11. Quartz Watch - good enough for most! Even pacemakers!
  12. 12. What about perfection?
  13. 13. Nature’s building blocks
  14. 14. Atoms Oscillate precisely Oscillate fungibly across an element
  15. 15. 1967: Caesium 133 isotope 9,192,631,770 oscillations of Cs133 ● Low energy Cs vs High energy Cs, separatable by a magnet ● Radiowave at 9B Hz hits atoms ● Auto-adjusting
  16. 16. The Atomic Clock
  17. 17. Next Gen Strontium, supercooling, lasers Less than a second during the age of the universe
  18. 18. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from?
  19. 19. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  20. 20. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some?
  21. 21. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  22. 22. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● How do *small* chip-size atomic clocks work?
  23. 23. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● How do *small* chip-size atomic clocks work? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  24. 24. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● How do *small* chip-size atomic clocks work? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● If Cs is used most commonly, why isn’t it the ultimate best? Why not switch all to Rubidium or Strontium, or Cesium for that matter?
  25. 25. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● How do *small* chip-size atomic clocks work? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● If Cs is used most commonly, why isn’t it the ultimate best? Why not switch all to Rubidium or Strontium, or Cesium for that matter? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  26. 26. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● How do *small* chip-size atomic clocks work? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● If Cs is used most commonly, why isn’t it the ultimate best? Why not switch all to Rubidium or Strontium, or Cesium for that matter? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does magnetic filtering of different energy states of Cs133 mean that atomic clocks are susceptible to magnetic interference?
  27. 27. Open Questions ● Where does the Cesium come from? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does it run out after a while? Do atomic clocks need to be reloaded with Cs after they “spend” some? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● How do *small* chip-size atomic clocks work? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● If Cs is used most commonly, why isn’t it the ultimate best? Why not switch all to Rubidium or Strontium, or Cesium for that matter? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ● Does magnetic filtering of different energy states of Cs133 mean that atomic clocks are susceptible to magnetic interference? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  28. 28. Conclusion Cool stuff, but still a lot of unexplained sci-fi.

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