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Atomic clocks

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: LM


Context: India is deploying atomic clocks nationwide to synchronize all digital devices with Indian Standard Time, enhancing uniformity and national security.


About Atomic Clocks:

Topic Information
Atomic Clock An atomic clock is a highly accurate timekeeping device that combines a quartz crystal oscillator with an atom, typically caesium or hydrogen, to measure time precisely. It uses the consistent frequency of atoms to maintain accurate time, making it more stable than conventional quartz clocks.


It was Invented in 1955 by Louise Essen. It combines a quartz crystal oscillator with an atom for precise timekeeping.


Types of Atomic Clocks Caesium and hydrogen maser atomic clocks
Hydrogen maser clocks are more accurate and used in scientific research.





Quartz crystal oscillators are commonly used in modern clocks, vibrating at a precise frequency when voltage is applied. However, they become slightly slow every hour and require frequent adjustments.


Atomic clocks are like super accurate timekeepers. They use special atoms, usually caesium atoms, which vibrate at a very steady rate. By sending microwaves to these atoms, we can make them vibrate even more regularly. Then, we compare these vibrations with the vibrations of a quartz crystal in a regular clock.  The most advanced atomic clocks lose just one second every 300 billion years.


Atomic Clocks in India Council of Industrial and Scientific Research(CSIR)-National Physical Laboratories (NPL) New Delhi maintains Indian Standard Time with caesium and hydrogen maser clocks.
CSIR-NPL are now setting up new atomic clocks in Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, and Hyderabad, in addition to the existing ones in Faridabad and Ahmedabad. By June, these new clocks will be installed, and the government will require all device manufacturers to sync with Indian Standard Time.


Currently, timekeeping relies on satellites, but the government aims to connect all atomic clocks using optical cables for enhanced security.
Implementation By the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and NPL. It will ensure “one nation, one time” by June this year.
Need for Indigenous Atomic Clocks Ensures national security and independence in timekeeping.
During the Kargil War in 1999, the US turned off GPS for the Indian Army, causing location inaccuracies. This prompted India to develop its own precise clock.


At present, most software operating modules, such as Windows and Android, rely on US-based Network Time Protocol servers.


Only four countries—the United States of America, The United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea—have developed their atomic clocks


Indian Standard Time (IST) Indian Standard Time (IST) was adopted on September 1, 1947, with only one-time zone for the whole country. It is calculated from 82.5 degrees East longitude, near Mirzapur (Allahabad, UP). IST is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)