atomic clock


Definition of atomic clock

: a precision clock that depends for its operation on an electrical oscillator regulated by the natural vibration frequencies of an atomic system (such as a beam of cesium atoms)

Examples of atomic clock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The scientists imagine measuring a quantum atomic clock experiencing two different times while it is placed in superposition—a quirk of quantum mechanics in which something appears to exist in two places at once. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "Quantum Time Twist Offers a Way to Create Schrödinger’s Clock," 23 Oct. 2020 Many feature an atomic clock and give you barometric pressure, indoor and outdoor temperature, indoor and outdoor humidity, even the day and date. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Things To Know Before You Buy An Outdoor Barometer," 28 Aug. 2019 Of the three technologies that led to today’s GPS inescapability, the atomic clock might be the most unexpected. Larry Printz, Ars Technica, "The long, winding, technological road to GPS in every car," 24 June 2020 With the extraordinary performance of optical atomic clocks, a redefinition of the second now seems inevitable. Andrew Ludlow, The Conversation, "Pairing lasers with microwaves makes mind-bogglingly accurate electronic clocks – a potential boon for GPS, cell phones and radar," 22 May 2020 Around the size of a toaster, the DSAC wouldn't be the first atomic clock to leave Earth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Why NASA Is Experimenting with Deep Space Atomic Clocks," 19 June 2019 This yields a 100-fold improvement over the cesium fountain clock, the gold standard for microwave atomic clocks. Andrew Ludlow, The Conversation, "Pairing lasers with microwaves makes mind-bogglingly accurate electronic clocks – a potential boon for GPS, cell phones and radar," 22 May 2020 Researchers must observe simultaneously with all the telescopes and synchronize the data recorded on computer disks at each site with the best atomic clocks. Mark J. Reid, Scientific American, "A New Map of the Milky Way," 17 Mar. 2020 That's why physicists have been developing all kinds of smaller experiments for detecting axions, from atomic clocks and resonating bars, to shining lasers at walls on the off-chance a bit of dark matter seeps through the other side. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Physicists propose listening for dark matter with plasma-based “axion radio”," 17 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atomic clock.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of atomic clock

1924, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for atomic clock

Time Traveler

The first known use of atomic clock was in 1924

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Last Updated

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Atomic clock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for atomic clock

atomic clock


English Language Learners Definition of atomic clock

: a special kind of clock that is extremely exact

More from Merriam-Webster on atomic clock

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for atomic clock Encyclopedia article about atomic clock

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