News of the WeekPhysics

First Ticks of a Super Atom Clock

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Science  24 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5376, pp. 501
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5376.501a

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Bose-Einstein condensates have yet to make the leap from quantum toy to tool. But in prodding these curious aggregates of supercold atoms, physicists have elicited some hints of future practicality. Now a group at JILA and the University of Colorado in Boulder has fashioned a crude clock based on the quantum ticks of these balls of atoms. A much-refined version might one day replace the traditional atomic clocks that keep the world on time.