Systematic evaluation of an atomic clock at 2 × 10(-18) total uncertainty

Nat Commun. 2015 Apr 21;6:6896. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7896.


The pursuit of better atomic clocks has advanced many research areas, providing better quantum state control, new insights in quantum science, tighter limits on fundamental constant variation and improved tests of relativity. The record for the best stability and accuracy is currently held by optical lattice clocks. Here we take an important step towards realizing the full potential of a many-particle clock with a state-of-the-art stable laser. Our (87)Sr optical lattice clock now achieves fractional stability of 2.2 × 10(-16) at 1 s. With this improved stability, we perform a new accuracy evaluation of our clock, reducing many systematic uncertainties that limited our previous measurements, such as those in the lattice ac Stark shift, the atoms' thermal environment and the atomic response to room-temperature blackbody radiation. Our combined measurements have reduced the total uncertainty of the JILA Sr clock to 2.1 × 10(-18) in fractional frequency units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.