The clock is so accurate that it hasn't been out of time for 40 million years

The Cryogenic Sapphire Oscillator (CSO) is one of the most accurate watches ever invented – and it’s not just keeping time, it’s keeping Australia safe.

Researchers at the Institute of Advanced Photonics and Sensors (IPAS) in Adelaide, Australia, together with Cryoclock, have been developing the CSO watch for over 20 years, and they call it the “Sapphire Watch”.

This exotic clock is 1,000 times more accurate than any other commercial clock system currently available in the world, and the movement strikes 10 billion times per second. The word “Cryogenic” in its name comes from a 1,200-carat sapphire crystal that needs to be cooled to -267 degrees Celsius, just a few degrees above absolute zero.

The idea to take advantage of sapphire’s amazing properties came from Andre Luiten , Director of IPAS, during his PhD thesis before moving to Adelaide in 2013.

Accuracy in measuring time is an extremely important aspect of the electronic systems we use every day, such as GPS. However, the main application of this “Sapphire Watch” is to improve the sensitivity of radar signals in JORN , an advanced radar network that serves as an early warning system in Australia’s strategic defensive wall. .

You can watch a video of this watch below:

Sapphire Watch.

The JORN radar network plays a key role in Australia’s ability to detect overseas air and sea threats by emitting a signal reflected off an alien object and then detected by the radar. a receiver on the Australian mainland. The “clearer” signal, the higher the ability of this radar network to detect small, slower objects at a greater distance.

“The sensitivity in detecting objects at a distance depends on the clarity of the reference clock frequencies. Our Sapphire watches will allow JORN to generate signals in 1,000 times more current technology. because it’s in use,” said Luiten.

Besides improving the capabilities of JORN, Luiten also sees other future uses of Sapphire Watches.

“In the long term, we see many other applications – for example in civilian radar systems at airports, or providing master clocks for quantum computers, or providing timers for computers. 5G telecommunications station,” continued Luiten.

This is an impressive scientific achievement, and it helped the team receive the Defense Science and Technology Award 2018, the category Outstanding Scientific Work to Protect Australia, which took place at the Australian Museum Eureka. Prizes on August 29th. This annual awards event celebrates scientific achievements across the fields of research and innovation, as well as scientific application and education.

The clock is so accurate that it hasn't been out of time for 40 million years
This exotic clock is 1,000 times more accurate than any other commercial clock system.

The most impressive thing about the CSO? It is one of a total of eight watches currently under construction and in operation. Two CSOs will be delivered to JORN, the other two will be located at the University where it was created. A new “next-generation” device, half the size of the original device, is currently being focused on testing.

This is not the first time that a watch with such incredible accuracy has been developed. Watchmakers have been finding ways to make more accurate watches for decades. In 2014, a Strontium watch was created, capable of operating without deviation for 5 billion years. Newer generations of Strontium watches can maintain accuracy for up to 90 billion years.