Products & Services
- Helen Margolis has just been made an NPL Fellow in Optical Frequency Standards and Metrology.
- The IERS has announced that a leap second will be added to UTC at the end of June this year.
- Senior NPL Fellow Patrick Gill was awarded an MBE in The Queen's New Year's Honours List.
- NPL and partners are working to carry out international clock comparisons via optical fibre.
- A new centre at NPL will underpin a £270M government investment to establish a UK industry in quantum technologies.
The Time & Frequency Group is responsible for operating the national time scale UTC(NPL) and disseminating time throughout the UK. Our caesium fountain primary frequency standard measures the SI second at the highest accuracy, and we contribute to the generation of the world's reference time scale UTC. We also maintain and disseminate another of the seven base SI units: the metre.
We carry out a broad programme of research in time and frequency metrology. A major activity is the development and characterisation of a new generation of optical atomic clocks based on laser-cooled trapped ions and atoms, which may lead to a future redefinition of the SI second. Potential applications of these clocks range from improved satellite navigation systems to sensitive tests of fundamental physical theories.
Other areas of current research include the development of compact and user-friendly frequency standards for industrial applications and unique algorithms for processing clock data to generate the most stable reference time scales achievable.
National Time Scale
NPL's Peter Whibberley discusses the National Time Scale