An atomic clock is a time measuring device said to be the most accurate clock in the world today. It measures the vibrations of the atoms, which shoot out electromagnetic rays at a standard frequency, at regular intervals in nanoseconds (a billionth of a second). It uses a stable and continuous time scale—the International Atomic Time (TAI). While a standard crystal quartz clock is a dependable time measuring device, it can still be affected by environmental elements that can influence its accuracy unlike an atomic clock.
An atomic clock is mostly used for generating standard frequencies. It is used in medium-wave and long-wave broadcasting stations to achieve precise carrier frequency, and for radioastronomy in long-baseline interferometry.
Types of Atomic Clocks
Kinds of Atomic Clocks include the following:
Cesium atomic clock
A cesium atomic clock is the most common type of atomic clock used today.
It uses a beam of cesium atoms and a magnetic field to separate the cesium atoms with different energy levels.
Hydrogen atomic clock
A hydrogen atomic clock contains hydrogen atoms at the required energy level.
It is housed in a container with walls made of special material that prevents atoms from losing their higher energy state too quickly.
Rubidium atomic clock
A rubidium atomic clock is the simplest and most compact form of atomic clock.
It uses a glass cell filled with rubidium gas to absorb light at the optical rubidium frequency.
Its light absorption changes when the surrounding frequency is adequate.
Choosing Atomic Clocks (Buying tips)
Accuracy: If you want the best, choose a cesium atomic clock. It is said to be the most accurate atomic clock available today. Transitions: Look for an atomic clock based on optical transitions and not on microwave transitions. Optical transitions have higher frequencies and highly stabilized laser systems that allows for greater frequency stability.