The Quantum Beat

The Physical Principles of Atomic Clocks

  • F. G. Major

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. F. G. Major
    Pages 1-21
  3. F. G. Major
    Pages 23-45
  4. F. G. Major
    Pages 47-62
  5. F. G. Major
    Pages 63-88
  6. F. G. Major
    Pages 117-140
  7. F. G. Major
    Pages 141-159
  8. F. G. Major
    Pages 161-178
  9. F. G. Major
    Pages 179-204
  10. F. G. Major
    Pages 205-222
  11. F. G. Major
    Pages 223-254
  12. F. G. Major
    Pages 255-283
  13. F. G. Major
    Pages 285-306
  14. F. G. Major
    Pages 307-343
  15. F. G. Major
    Pages 345-368
  16. F. G. Major
    Pages 395-417
  17. F. G. Major
    Pages 419-447
  18. F. G. Major
    Pages 449-456
  19. Back Matter
    Pages 457-475

About this book


One of the indicators of the level of technological development of a society has been, throughout history, the precision of clocks it was able to build. This book examines the physical principles underlying the workings of clocks--from the earliest mechanical clocks to the present-day sophisticated clocks based on the properties of individual atoms. Intended for non-specialists with some knowledge of physics or engineering,the book treats the material in a broad intuitive manner, with a minimum of mathematical formalism. The presentation covers a broad range of salient topics relevant to the measurement of frequency and time intervals. The main focus is on electronic time-keeping: clocks based on quartz crystal oscillators and, at greater length, atomic clocks based on quantum resonance in rubidium, cesium, and hydrogen atoms, and, more recently, mercury ions. The book treats the revolutionary changes that the optical laser has wrought on atomic standards through laser cooling and optical pumping, and it discusses the application of these clocks to global navigation--in particular Loran-C and the Global Positioning System. The book also touches on such topics as atomic resonance line shape, the relativistic Doppler effect and general notions of time, including the relativity of future and past, the clock paradox, the Sagnac effect and finally, time reversal symmetry.


Applications Atomic Atomic Clocks Beat Major cesium fountain forbidden transitions frequency standards horology hydrogen maser hyperfine structure ion resonance ion trap laser cooling lasers loran c ma mach's principle magnetic resonance

Authors and affiliations

  • F. G. Major
    • 1
  1. 1.Severna ParkUSA

Bibliographic information