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What is Atomic Time?

Posted by Barry Rubin on 6/20/2016 to Tips and Resources
What is Atomic Time?
One question we get asked a lot is why we set our electronic time clock systems and Time Clock devices to an Atomic clock Time source.  The simple answer is that Atomic Time is the correct time.

Setting a workforce time clock to the atomic clock is an extraordinarily precise means of time-keeping, with deviation of less than 1 second every 100 million years. Powered by a science few non nuclear engineers will ever understand the atomic clock defines one second as the time it takes a Cesium-133 atom at the ground state to oscillate exactly 9,192,631,770 times. It is this impeccable precision of the correct measurement of the second that is the base unit of modern time-keeping as we know it.

By using this exact time measurement with our time clock products we can assure that a companies employee time clock, synchronized wall clocks, telephones, computer networks and other time sensitive devices all display the exact same time.  And while this may seem less than mission critical for some industries, for others it is crucial.

The first atomic clock was constructed in 1949 by the organization that was to become the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This technology has been enhanced throughout the decades and is considered world wide as the standard bearer in regard to fractional frequency inaccuracy.

In 2010, Scientists at the NIST introduced an enhanced quantum logic clock that is now being introduced into scientific disciplines and will then follow the obvious monetized mainstream route into commercial applications such as time clocks, workforce management, and all sorts of space-based navigation, including GPS mapping and employee geo fencing.  It is reported that the quantum clock has a fluctuation that will not exceed a single second over one billion years. That should keep us on time for a while.