Matter & Energy

A new type of molecular clock

Photo: Fotolia
Photo: Fotolia

Researchers developed a new type of molecular clock. It uses the states present in diatomic molecules. The research results appeared in "Nature Physics". University of Warsaw employees participated in the international research project.

The results of scientists including Prof. Robert Moszyński and Iwona Majewska from the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, were presented in the article "Molecular lattice clock with long vibrational coherence" published in the monthly journal Nature Physics ( The University of Warsaw informed about the research project on its website.

Optical atomic clocks are extremely precise measuring devices. They allow to measure time with precision better than 10−18 seconds.

"An international team of researchers presented a completely new type of clock that uses diatomic molecules. The molecules have a much richer internal structure: in addition to electronic energy states, they also have rotational and vibrational states. The latter were used in the construction of this clock. Accurate time measurements were possible thanks to the use of state-independent (so-called magic) wavelengths for trapping molecules in the optical network" - the University of Warsaw explains on its website

The authors of the publication note that the clock they have created can be used to study inter-atomic interactions, search for non-Newtonian gravity and changes of fundamental constants over time. At the same time, it is complementary to existing atomic clocks, because it is sensitive to different physical phenomena.

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