Pairing lasers with microwaves makes mind-bogglingly accurate electronic clocks – a potential boon for GPS, cell phones and radar

Mating laser-driven atomic clocks like the one shown here with microwaves promises more accurate electronic devices.N. Phillips/NISTTime and frequency standards are a key part of technologies we have come to rely on in our daily lives, from GPS navigation and cellphone networks to the electrical power grid. The importance of these systems and the constant drive to improve their performance has led to the development of atomic clocks that keep time and measure frequency with incredible accuracy.Conventional atomic clocks use the billions-of-times-a-second vibrations of atoms like cesium to cali…

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