Products & Services
- NPL's work on atomic timekeeping is featured in Elemental Economics on the BBC World Service.
- Cambridge-based trading technology company signs agreement with NPL to enhance its ability to deliver high-speed data to traders.
- The Council of the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) has awarded NPL’s long-term atomic clock development programme.
- A public dialogue is open on the future of leap seconds, which are used to keep the atomic time scale in sync with the Earth's rotation.
- Due to a technical fault, the MSF signal was off-air from 24 May to 28 May.
The Time and 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