The past few years have seen enormous advances in the development of new types of atomic clock based on optical atomic transitions. Because such clocks operate at much higher frequency than the current generation of microwave atomic clocks, they divide time into smaller slices, and therefore offer the prospect of significantly better stability and accuracy.
At NPL we are developing optical atomic clocks based on extremely narrow transitions in single trapped ions. In this talk I will describe how we observe a single ion, how we make a laser stable enough to probe the narrow clock transition and how we measure a frequency that is too high to count directly. The potential applications of optical atomic clocks, ranging from improved satellite navigation systems to experimental tests of general relativity, will also be discussed.
Tickets are required but are free of charge. Coffee will be available from 19:00, and the talk will begin at 19:30.