Scientists claim to have created the world’s most precise clock based on the oscillation of a trapped aluminium-27 atom.

According to the New Scientist, the new record-holder for the most precise timekeeper, built at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado, could tick off the 13.7-billion-year age of universe to within 4 seconds.

The optical clock monitors the oscillation of a trapped atom of aluminium-27 and is more than twice as precise than an earlier version, reported in 2008, say its creators.

The second is currently defined by caesium atomic clocks, but optical clocks promise higher precision because their atoms oscillate at the frequencies of light rather than in the microwave band, so they can slice time into smaller intervals. And, such clocks could help spot tiny changes in physical constants over time, the creators say.

“It’s extremely impressive,” Patrick Gill of the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory, said.

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