It will not delay or advance one second in 15,000 million years more or less the age of the Universe, an almost unimaginable precision, but is now a reality thanks to the changes that have been introduced to a strontium atomic clock.
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US have achieved with their latest amendments the clock gain in accuracy and stability, according to an article published today in Nature Communications.
The timing is very important in advanced communications technologies -the GPS positioning and many other technologies recalled in a statement NIST.
Furthermore, this high precision clock has other applications beyond telling time, eg for altimeters based on gravity changes and experiments on quantum correlations between atoms.
The clock created by the JILA (a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado) is now "three times more accurate than last year, when it set a world record," which allows you to measure tiny changes over time and gravity at slightly different heights.
Einstein had predicted this effect in his theory of relativity, which means, among other things, that the clocks walk faster at higher elevations, recalls the article.
The explanation for all this accurately record because scientists "literally take the temperature" environment of atoms.
For this, two specialized thermometers, NIST calibrated by researchers, are inserted into a vacuum chamber enclosing a strontium atom cloud confined by lasers.
Now "we can measure the gravitational shift when the clock rises only two inches above the surface of the Earth," said Jun Ye's JILA / NIST.
It also found that with this new development are very close to "be useful for the relativistic geodesy" which is the idea of using a network of clocks as if they were gravity sensors for 3D precision measurements on the Earth shape.