Time metrology

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Time metrology or time and frequency metrology is the application of metrology for time keeping, including frequency stability.[1][2] Its main tasks are the realization of the second as the SI unit of measurement for time and the establishment of time standards and frequency standards as well as their dissemination.[3]

Time transfer[edit]

Time and frequency transfer is a scheme where multiple sites share a precise reference time or frequency. The technique is commonly used for creating and distributing standard time scales such as International Atomic Time (TAI). Time transfer solves problems such as astronomical observatories correlating observed flashes or other phenomena with each other, as well as cell phone towers coordinating handoffs as a phone moves from one cell to another.

Multiple techniques have been developed, often transferring reference clock synchronization from one point to another, often over long distances. Accuracy approaching one nanosecond worldwide is economically practical for many applications. Radio-based navigation systems are frequently used as time transfer systems.

In some cases, multiple measurements are made over a period of time, and exact time synchronization is determined retrospectively. In particular, time synchronization has been accomplished by using pairs of radio telescopes to listen to a pulsar, with the time transfer accomplished by comparing time offsets of the received pulsar signal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arias, Elisa Felicitas (2005-07-02). "The metrology of time". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. The Royal Society. 363 (1834): 2289–2305. Bibcode:2005RSPTA.363.2289A. doi:10.1098/rsta.2005.1633. ISSN 1364-503X. PMID 16147510. S2CID 20446647.
  2. ^ Levine, Judah (1999). "Introduction to time and frequency metrology". Review of Scientific Instruments. AIP Publishing. 70 (6): 2567–2596. Bibcode:1999RScI...70.2567L. doi:10.1063/1.1149844. ISSN 0034-6748.
  3. ^ "time and frequency". BIPM. Retrieved 2021-01-26.

Further reading[edit]