Quantum watch and its intrinsic proof of accuracy

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We have investigated the rich dynamics of complex wave packets composed of multiple high-lying Rydberg states in He. A quantitative agreement is found between theory and time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy experiments. We show that the intricate time dependence of such wave packets can be used for investigating quantum defects and performing artifact-free timekeeping. The latter relies on the unique fingerprint that is created by the time-dependent photoionization of these complex wave packets. These fingerprints determine how much time has passed since the wave packet was formed and provide an assurance that the measured time is correct. Unlike any other clock, this quantum watch does not utilize a counter and is fully quantum mechanical in its nature. The quantum watch has the potential to become an invaluable tool in pump-probe spectroscopy due to its simplicity, assurance of accuracy, and ability to provide an absolute timestamp, i.e., there is no need to find time zero.




Berholts, M., Knut, R., Stefanuik, R., Wikmark, H., Saha, S., & Söderström, J. (2022). Quantum watch and its intrinsic proof of accuracy. Physical Review Research, 4(4). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevResearch.4.043041

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