Accurate timing needed for accurate financial timestamps

Published on
January 29, 2024

The finance sector relies on accurate timing and resilient communications. Trading decisions are made and trades are executed in a small number of microseconds. Financial timestamps are used to keep track of events taking place at a particular moment to ensure fairness and equity, and if these times are recorded with even a slight inaccuracy, it could cause confusion and ambiguity, impacting all types of investors and customers.

A team of quantum timing researchers have developed a small portable quantum clock, robust enough to be transported out of the laboratory and employed in the ‘real world’.

Quantum – or atomic – clocks are widely seen as essential for increasingly precise approaches to areas such as international online communications, navigation systems, or global trading in stocks, where fractions of seconds could make a huge economic difference. Atomic clocks with optical clock frequencies can be 10,000 times more accurate than their microwave counterparts, opening up the possibility of redefining the standard (SI) unit of measurement.

Advanced optical clocks could make a significant difference both in everyday life and in fundamental science. By allowing longer periods between needing to resynchronise, they offer increased resilience for the national timing infrastructure and unlock future positioning and navigation applications for autonomous vehicles. The unparalleled accuracy of these clocks can also help us see beyond standard models of physics and understand some of the most mysterious aspects of the universe, including dark matter and dark energy. These clocks will also help to address fundamental physics questions such as whether the fundamental constants are really ‘constants’ or they are varying with time.



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