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21 - Future of Timekeeping

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2018

Dennis D. McCarthy
Affiliation:
United States Naval Observatory
P. Kenneth Seidelmann
Affiliation:
University of Virginia
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Summary

The growing demand for improvements in the precision and accuracy of time and frequency will drive the developments in the field for years to come. Anticipated future requirements include improved transportation methods, the ability to navigate within buildings, precise spectrum allocation, and scientific applications. Improvements in Earth orientation modeling will depend on improved observations and understanding of the physics of the Earth, Real-time estimates of the Earth's rotation angle may permit more reliable predictions. The future of clocks could include chip-scale atomic clocks, optical clocks, and alkali atom fountains. A pulsar-based timescale will be an independent source of time able to identify possible systematic variations in TAI. An ensemble white dwarf timescale may be possible, if additional white dwarfs with accurate rotation rates are found. It is likely that improvements in clock technology will result in the redefinition of the second and a more precise timescale. Dynamical timescales based on higher orders of relativity and post-post-Newtonian parameters could be expected, as well as definitions of proper times for planets to satisfy planetary mission requirements. Correspondingly accurate time and frequency distribution methods will be required, including optical fibers, quantum entanglement, and a distributed clock.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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References

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