Reading 18th decimal places of time with optical lattice clocks: miniaturization and new applications

Prof. Hidetoshi Katori

Professor, Department of Applied Physics

The University of Tokyo





物理工学専攻 教授

香取 秀俊 氏




The ‘magic frequency’ protocol has made it possible to design new type of atomic clocks based on well-engineered perturbations. Such ‘optical lattice clocks’ will allow extremely precise and speedy timekeeping, which targets fractional uncertainty of 10-18. Progress of optical lattice clocks in the last decade is overviewed. Possible impacts and future applications of optical clocks are discussed, such as testing the fundamental laws of physics and developing relativistic geodesy that relies on the general relativistic time dilation.




Hidetoshi Katori was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964. He received the B. Eng. (1988), M. Eng. (1990) and D. Eng. (1994) in Applied Physics, The University of Tokyo. From 1994 to 1997, he worked at Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, as a visiting scientist. He joined Engineering Research Institute, The University of Tokyo in 1999. Since then he has been engaged in the precision measurements with ultracold atoms, in particular “optical lattice clocks” that he proposed in 2001.

He has been a professor in the department of applied physics, graduate school of engineering, The University of Tokyo since 2010 and has been a chief scientist, Quantum Metrology Laboratory, RIKEN, since 2011. He served as a research director, ERATO, “Katori Innovative Space-Time Project (2010-2016)”, JST. 

He was awarded the first JSPS Prize, European Time and Frequency Award, and The Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics in 2005, IBM Japan Science Prize (2006), Rabi Award (2008), Asahi award (2012), Nishina memorial award (2013), The Medal with Purple Ribbon (2014) and Japan Academy Award (2015).

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