Atomic Clock

The atomic clock used today is one of the most detailed and accurate means of measuring units of time and are becoming increasingly important with the advancement of scientific technology worldwide.
The atomic clock is a device which uses an electronic transition frequency similar to that used in the microwave to effectively calculate time. An atomic clock is not seen as being radioactive as the name may suggest. They do not record time respective to the decay of atoms but rather by observation in the oscillation of the nucleus within an atom and its existing electrons.
The oscillation frequencies set within the atomic clock are determined by the mass of the nucleus, the affected gravitational pull and the electrostatic spring between the nucleus of the atom which is positively charged and the negatively charged electrons. This type of oscillation is not particularly comparable with respect to the timekeeping used in the typical clock and their oscillations to measure time.

The atomic clock’s oscillation is not affected by environmental conditions as the typical clock such as would be seen in instances of extreme humidity. This factor allows these clocks to be observed as more reliable timekeepers as they are not subject to events which would serve as a medium to create instances of inaccuracy.
Scientists for several years acquired the knowledge through a series of experiments that atoms contained what was observed as resonant frequencies. These frequencies were responsible for the ability to the atom to absorb and emit electromagnetic frequencies.
High frequency radar equipment and communication successfully developed in the 1930’s and the 1940’s were used to interact with electromagnetic frequencies created by these atoms to carry out their respective functions in communication and monitoring. It was through this development and observation of the coordination between the atoms and their molecules that the idea of the atomic clock was realized.
The National Institute of Standard and Technology also known as NIST in 1949 built the first ever atomic clock using the compound ammonia as the trigger to set the clock’s vibrations. This atomic clock however was not proven to be more accurate than the typical clock which resulted in developers using chemical element known as cesium for the vibration source in the next generation atomic clocks.
By using cesium as the source of vibrations within the atomic clocks, their timekeeping was observed to be much more accurate than the standard clock. This development in effect meant that the world time was no longer dependent on the motion of the Earth which led to the design and completion of a more stable atomic clock in 1968 which was used in the timekeeping of the National Institute of Standard and Technology well into the 1990’s.
The cesium based atomic clock functions by the exposure to the liquid cesium to extreme heat changing it’s liquid state to a gaseous form. The gas containing the cesium atoms are then funneled through a small opening at high speeds. While funneled these atoms are then exposed to high frequency radio waves effectively changing the energy state of the atoms.
A detector used at the end of this tube is used to record the number of cesium atoms which have experienced a notable change in their energy state. This information is relayed to a radio wave generator which synchronizes the peak number of radio waves which is counted by the clock affecting a single swing of the pendulum.
Although a majority of atomic clocks use cesium as their means to effect accurate timekeeping, there have been other types of atomic clocks using materials such as hydrogen and rubidium. Hydrogen based atomic clocks function in a similar manner to the cesium based atomic clocks.
However they require a specially built container so that the vibrated atoms do not lose their energy rapidly. The rubidium clocks are much more simpler then the cesium and atomic clocks existing in a much more compact form using a glass cell containing rubidium gas that changes the absorption of light upon exposure to the correct frequency.