Lacrosse technology atomic clock

The atomic clock online shows the current time

Anyone looking for the exact time in World and wondering: What time is it now? It’s not that easy at all. A glance at the wristwatch or a wall clock is sufficient to recognize the day, hour, minute and seconds, but the exact time can only rarely be determined with this. This is only possible with an atomic clock, which, as a so-called primary clock, shows the most exact time (the international atomic time TAI).

Determine the time exactly with atomic clocks

Lacrosse technology atomic clock

In many areas, such as science, it is important to determine the time precisely to the second. However, many wristwatches have deviations of about one second per day. The atomic clock, however, which is also called the primary clock because of its exact time determination, has almost no deviations. In 1 million years it will only deviate from the actual time by around one second. Thus atomic clocks can be used as directional clocks for all clocks on earth. This means that both radio clocks and clocks in industrial control units and even the time display on television use this time.

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How does an atomic clock work?

Basically, the structure of an atomic clock corresponds to the structure of a classic clock and thus has both a clock generator and a counter. In order to achieve an exact time specification, however, they must vibrate very constantly. In wheel clocks, pendulums are used for this, whereas in quartz clocks, the oscillating quartz acts as a transmitter for the clock. In atomic clocks, on the other hand, there are no such installations. Here, cesium atoms ensure an even cycle.

Due to their special property of generating electromagnetic waves when changing from one energy state to another, they are ideally suited for this. When a certain frequency is reached, the atoms absorb a lot of energy and finally release it in the other direction. A counter measures the frequency at which most atoms change their state in order to determine the duration of one second. With this resonance it is possible to keep the frequency extremely stable. If this deviates once, an immediate adjustment must be made to correct this.

How the atomic clock works

  • Cesium atoms as a clock
  • Irradiation of the atoms with microwaves
  • Change of energy state
  • Measure at what frequency most atoms change their state

Historical basics

The history of the first atomic clock goes back to 1945. At that time, the US physicist Isidor Rabi was researching the magnetic resonance method and then suggested building a clock. Such a watch was presented as early as 1949. At that time, ammonia molecules instead of cesium atoms were used as the source for the vibration generator, but they did not achieve the desired accuracy. In 1952, therefore, cesium atoms were used for the first time.

The first watch that was built with this was named NBS-1. In 1955 the most accurate watch up to that point was made. As primary clocks, they also defined the duration of one second for the first time anywhere in the world. Since then it has been called the atomic second and represents the basis of atomic time. The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig put the cesium atomic clock CS1 into operation in 1969, which had been responsible for the statutory time determination since 1978. Since 1991 this task has been taken over by the new CS2 cesium atomic clock, which also transmits the exact time to all radio-controlled clocks and the Internet.

The history of atomic clocks for precise time measurement

  • 1945: Suggestion to build an exact clock
  • 1949: Presentation of a clock with an ammonia molecule
  • 1952: Further development based on cesium atoms
  • 1955: Presentation of the most precise clock and definition of one second
  • 1969: Commissioning of the CS1 atomic clock in Braunschweig
  • 1985: Presentation of the new CS2 atomic clock
  • 1991: The CS2 has been responsible for the statutory timekeeping ever since

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Use the current time on the atomic clock

In many situations it is important to know the current time. Even if a second is often not important in life, it is interesting to know what time it is exactly in Berlin or worldwide. Find the exact time today with a slight deviation on the Internet. The sides compare their time with the atomic time several times a day in order to be able to correct any deviations quickly. Even modern radio clocks now automatically use these times. For this purpose, the exact time is broadcast via a long-wave transmitter. In Germany, this type of time determination is available at 77.5 kilohertz.

Radio clocks are equipped with a straight-ahead receiver and use the option of receiving this signal. These clocks then set themselves again and again and correct existing deviations on their own. Grandfather clocks that have a permanentfte power supply, usually check atomic time (TAI) every hour. For watches with a button cell battery, the correction is made every two to four hours. In this way, an ever more precise time is achieved that everyone uses for themselves in everyday life.

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