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> Atomic "probability" Clock
Jimthecopierwrench
Posted: September 04, 2017 04:02 pm
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Rolling something around my brain this morning - I know it's not the same process as a real atomic clock, but wondering if it would work in theory.

If I obtained one of those legal uC Cesium sample disks and beamed the discharge at a scintillator which in turn was connected to a counter circuit - would not the decay output (of the radio sample) be relatively accurate as far as n counts per second (once determined, then divided) to drive the mechanism of a contrived analog clock? Not the least bit interested in efficiency or the idiocy of it all - just could it work and maintain the general accuracy of a Chinese made wind up alarm clock?



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Sch3mat1c
Posted: September 05, 2017 01:21 am
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Wrong kind of Cs atomic clock. laugh.gif

But I like the demented radioactive angle. Classic Jim. biggrin.gif

This comes to mind:
http://panteltje.com/panteltje/tri_pic/
Basically what you're talking about, but in intensity rather than counts.

It's tricky because the phosphor degrades over time, which is a direct error term in measuring tritium decay. He was originally looking to spot the seasonal variation thing that had been noted some years back, but IIRC nothing significant has been noted yet.

Perhaps even more provocative would be a clock powered by radiation -- if you put some of these vials between two solar cells (they have to be amorphous type: low leakage), you get enough power to run a clock.

But as for counts, yeah, you could do that -- obviously it'll lose time, over time, unless you use, say, a hunk of uranium ore, where the half life is long enough not to care. The counts will be slower, too, but that might well be an advantage: it ticks up erratically, sometimes in bursts, sometimes just sitting there for a long time. It could be sensitive to background radiation, too -- take it on a jet (as if they'd let you onboard with it first laugh.gif ) and watch it gain time. wink.gif

Tim


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Jimthecopierwrench
Posted: September 05, 2017 10:13 am
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QUOTE
But I like the demented radioactive angle. Classic Jim. biggrin.gif


Oh brotha, you aint seen nothin' yet.

So the theory is basically sound - excellent. For what I eventually have in mind, I doubt I'll need the actual 'clock' accuracy for more than a few hours between corrections anyway due to the sheer mass and wind acting on the actual hands - as well as less than ideal gearing and motor drive (Automotive flexplates and starter motors - possibly even whole manual transmission boxes - because cheap and easy).

Suffice that I can call it an atomic clock - which although may be a bit of a stretch, would be technically accurate wink.gif .



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mrk
Posted: September 18, 2017 05:34 am
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Yeah I think it would (if you compensate for decay and had perfect detection) be accurate, but jitter awful, as the decay is well.. random.
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