Welcome to the Website of nuClock!

nuClock is a European project headed for an ambitious goal: the development of a scientific clock that reaches a much higher precision compared to the best clocks that are operated today in some of the world’s finest laboratories. While such clocks use the electrons of an atom as the “pendulum”, we will use the nucleus of a very special atom – Thorium-229 – for setting the rhythm. Once we get our clock working, it can be employed aboard navigation satellites, it can help to synchronize networks, and it might lead astronomers to a better understanding of the universe.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 664732. It will run from 2015 to 2019. Stay with us: it’s sure going to be exciting!

European_Comission

NEWS

Simon Stellmer receives ERC Starting Grant

Simon Stellmer, nuClock researcher on the Vienna team, has received an ERC Starting Grant. The title of his project reads "Ultracold mercury for a measurement of the EDM". Within this project, he will address one of the most fundamental questions in all of physics: Why does the Universe contain matter? Shortly after the Big Bang, many billion years ago, equal amounts of matter and antimatter were formed. These two types of matter, however, destroy themselves when they come into contact. This process…

Reading material for a nice summer evening

Sitting in your deck chair with nothing to read? We have a solution for you! A few weeks ago, Francisco Ponce of Lawrence Livermore / UC Davis finished his PhD thesis on the topic "High Accuracy Measurement of the Nuclear Decay of U-235m and Search for the Nuclear Decay of Th-229m". In his studies, he searched for the IC electron in the de-excitation of the Th isomer, but was not sensitive to timescales in the µs range. Although eventually not successful, the PhD thesis still makes a nice reading.…

Yudai Shigekawa returns to Japan

Yudai Shigekawa, a PhD student from Osaka, spent a year with the Vienna group. Today, almost exactly one year after his arrival, he disassembled the experimental set-up again, ready to be shipped back to his home university. Yudai constructed an experiment to investigate the decay of U-233 into Th-229. The U-233 sample was sandwiched in between an alpha detector (for measuring alpha particles with high energy and time resolution) and an MCP (to perform spectroscopy on low-energy electrons). The…

nuClock arts collaboration

No joke: there exist peer-reviewed journals on arts! The publications look just like science publications: title, author list, abstract, acknowledgements, list of reference... plus the well-beloved discussions with reviewers. Anyways, the most reputated journal covering the interface between science, technology, and arts is probably Leonardo Magazine, published by MIT Press. This is where we published a study on one of the two projects that nuClock associate Kerstin Ergenzinger is currently working…

New paper by the LMU group

Over the two years, the LMU Munich group has established the detection of internal conversion (IC) electrons as a successful technique to detect the Th-229 isomer. This scheme as already been used to measure the half-life of the isomer in the neutral charge state, but the really important experiment, a measurement of the isomer energy, is still pending. Such an experiment would need to measure the kinetic energy of the IC electron released in the isomer decay. The LMU team just made an important…

Welcome Kjeld Beeks

A new PhD student joined the nuClock team! Kjeld Beeks from Eindhoven University of Technology just started his PhD in the Vienna group. He will work towards optical excitation and optical detection of the Th-229 isomer transition. Good luck with this challenging work, Kjeld!  

Two new papers from Heidelberg

Adriana's theory group just published two new papers, both of which might have a significant impact on experiments building on the Th-229 isomer. The first paper is a study on a new optomechanical system, which interfaces optical fields and X-rays via an optical cavity. In short, one mirror of an optical cavity is formed by a micro-cantilever, which bears a layer of Th-229 nuclei. These can be excited by X-rays, which impart momentum to the cantilever and change its quantum state, thereby changing…

Theory papers to support experiments

We have built up a considerable backlog in out presentation of papers related to research on the thorium isomer. Here, we highlight a number of theoretical papers that could support experiments searching for the isomer and trying to measure its energy. "Magnetic hyperfine structure of the ground-state doublet in highly charged ions 229 Th 89+, 87+ and the Bohr-Weisskopf effect" by E. V. Tkalya and A. V. Nikolaev, published with Phys. Rev. C, link. "Bound internal conversion versus nuclear excitation…