The discovery could enable scientists to probe dark matter and find undiscovered particles.
An incredibly accurate atomic clock, Albert EinsteinValidating ‘s general theory of relativity, he detected a time warp at a very small distance.
According to the theory in question, clocks run faster as they move away from the Earth or an object with intense gravitational force. This is a fact of nature, which must be accurate and visible at the atomic level, regardless of the size of the watch.
Researchers using this watch have now detected the effect in a smaller, millimeter-sized sample of atoms, ScienceNews reported. Time flowed slightly faster in the upper part of this example than in the lower part.
Atoms can be used as clocks because a certain frequency of light changes their energy levels. This frequency acts like the equivalent of a clock ticking. Atoms farther from the ground experience time faster than those closer to the ground. Therefore, a higher frequency of light is needed to change energy levels.
This shift, known as the gravitational redshift, was previously 33 cm. detected at altitude. “This is great,” said theoretical physicist Marianna Safronova of the University of Delaware.
THE FINALEST COMPARISON EVER MADE
I thought it would take longer to get to this point. In the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed,University of Colorado Joint Institute of Astrophysics Laboratoryphysicist from Jun Yeused a clock made of ultra-cold 100,000 strontium atoms.
These atoms were arranged at different heights in a lattice. The physicists mapped how the frequency changed at these altitudes and detected a difference of one hundredth of a hundred quadrillionths of a millimeter. This was an expected effect under general relativity.
Over 90 hours of measurements, the researchers were able to measure the tick pitch with an accuracy of 0.76 million parts per hundred trillion. This was the most definitive comparison ever made.
“Atomic clocks are now so precise they can be used to search for dark matter,” theoretical physicist Victor Flambaum from the University of New South Wales told ScienceNews. Because, according to the physicist, mysterious and unidentified matter can affect the functioning of clocks. Comparing atomic clocks with different isotopes (the number of neutrons in their nuclei) can also be used to find new undiscovered particles.