A technician measuring the wavelength of the CSAC's vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (Photo: Sandia National Laboratories)
The VCSEL beam (bright spot), seen within the CSAC (Photo: Sandia National Laboratories)
The Chip Scale Atomic Clock is a matchbox-sized atomic clock, that uses one one-hundredth the power of its conventional counterparts
(Photo: Symmetricom Inc.)
Atomic clocks are one of those things that most of us have probably always thought of as being big, ultra-expensive, and therefore only obtainable by well-funded research institutes. While that may have been the case at one time, a team of researchers have recently developed an atomic clock that they say is one one-hundredth the size – and that uses one one-hundredth the power – of previous commercially-available products. It’s called the Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC), and it can be yours for about US$1,500 ... a little more than what you might pay for a regular clock, but not bad for one that varies by less than a millionth of a second per day.
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