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A clock directly linking time to a particle's mass

Lan, Shau-Yu ; Kuan, Pei-Chen ; Estey, Brian ; English, Damon ; Brown, Justin M ; Hohensee, Michael A ; Müller, Holger

Science (New York, N.Y.), 01 February 2013, Vol.339(6119), pp.554-7 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    A clock directly linking time to a particle's mass
  • Author: Lan, Shau-Yu ; Kuan, Pei-Chen ; Estey, Brian ; English, Damon ; Brown, Justin M ; Hohensee, Michael A ; Müller, Holger
  • Description: Historically, time measurements have been based on oscillation frequencies in systems of particles, from the motion of celestial bodies to atomic transitions. Relativity and quantum mechanics show that even a single particle of mass m determines a Compton frequency ω(0) = mc(2)/[formula: see text] where c is the speed of light and [formula: see text] is Planck's constant h divided by 2π. A clock referenced to ω(0) would enable high-precision mass measurements and a fundamental definition of the second. We demonstrate such a clock using an optical frequency comb to self-reference a Ramsey-Bordé atom interferometer and synchronize an oscillator at a subharmonic of ω(0.) This directly demonstrates the connection between time and mass. It allows measurement of microscopic masses with 4 × 10(-9) accuracy in the proposed revision to SI units. Together with the Avogadro project, it yields calibrated kilograms.
  • Is Part Of: Science (New York, N.Y.), 01 February 2013, Vol.339(6119), pp.554-7
  • Identifier: E-ISSN: 1095-9203 ; PMID: 23306441 Version:1 ; DOI: 10.1126/science.1230767
  • Subjects: Interferometers ; Optical Frequency ; Joining ; Linking ; Atomic Properties ; Clocks ; Atomic Clocks ; Accessibility ; Miscellaneous Sciences (So)
  • Language: English

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