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Coffee time: The heart of NIST’s next-generation miniature atomic clock.
Coffee time: The heart of NIST’s next-generation miniature atomic clock — ticking at high “optical” frequencies — is this vapor cell on a chip, shown next to a coffee bean for scale. The glass cell (the square window in the chip) contains rubidium atoms, whose vibrations provide the clock “ticks.” The entire clock consists of three microfabricated chips plus supporting electronics and optics. Credit: Hummon / NIST.
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