Products & Services
- NPL is featured in the new official guide book 'Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower'.
- The atomic clocks on board the four Galileo navigation satellites already in orbit are now providing time accurate to a few nanoseconds.
- NPL's historical achievements are recognised in the quest to find the greatest British innovation of the last 100 years.
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