Definition of atomic clock in US English:

atomic clock


  • An extremely accurate type of clock which is regulated by the vibrations of an atomic or molecular system such as cesium or ammonia.

    • ‘The theory should also help in the design of quantum techniques for synchronizing atomic clocks aboard satellites, which keep slightly different times because of their relative motion.’
    • ‘Universal Time is kept by extremely precise atomic clocks which measure time using the frequency of atoms.’
    • ‘The most accurate laboratory cesium atomic clocks are thousands of times better than commercially produced units.’
    • ‘All three systems are based on atomic clocks aboard the satellites.’
    • ‘The restored clocks are reputed to be accurate to one second in one million years and are controlled by a radio signal from the caesium atomic clock at Rugby in the Midlands.’
    • ‘These oscillation measurements are so accurate that an atomic clock, if left unadjusted, would gain or lose one second every 160,000 years.’
    • ‘The most accurate atomic clocks available today use the cesium atom and the normal magnetic fields and detectors.’
    • ‘Superaccurate atomic clocks, timepieces capable of discerning a change in frequency of a few parts in a million billion, were used to monitor the potential shifts.’
    • ‘By 2000, the best atomic clocks were so accurate they only lost one ten-billionth of a second a day.’
    • ‘But even with highly accurate atomic clocks, certain errors creep into the process of determining position.’
    • ‘But if you were to use the world's most accurate atomic clocks, you would also need to take the latitude and altitude of the two locations into account.’
    • ‘You can however measure these tiny discrepancies using accurate atomic clocks.’
    • ‘The big difference between a standard clock in your home and an atomic clock is that the oscillation in an atomic clock is between the nucleus of an atom and the surrounding electrons.’
    • ‘This may lead to applications such as more precise atomic clocks and atom lasers, which, for example, may be used in space navigation and in the developing field of quantum information.’
    • ‘One application of this has been the improvement of the accuracy of atomic clocks.’
    • ‘Using atomic clocks accurate to within one second every 70,000 years, each satellite continuously broadcasts the time and its position.’
    • ‘In 1971 two physicists sent four atomic clocks on commercial flights around the world and found that the clocks gained or lost time in just the amounts that special relativity predicted.’
    • ‘So far, studies of relativity have yielded atomic clocks, guidance systems for spacecraft, and the Global Positioning System.’
    • ‘A phenomenon illustrating reversibility of time is the barely perceptible lag of atomic clocks transported on jets traveling at high speeds.’
    • ‘This is achieved by continuously synchronising all on-board atomic clocks with a master clock on the ground.’
    • ‘Its blips are so regular and stable that its accuracy can rival the most accurate atomic clock on Earth.’


atomic clock

/əˈtɑmɪk klɑk/