Researchers at CERN trap thorium isomers in quest for a nuclear clock

May 26, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The ISOLDE facility. (Photo: CERN)

Today’s atomic clocks are exceptional timepieces that won’t lose or gain a second in 30 billion years. But if you’re looking for even more precision, you’ll be glad to learn that physicists at CERN’s ISOLDE nuclear physics facility have observed the decay of thorium-229 nuclei trapped in a crystalline structure and confirmed the potential for a nuclear clock. CERN announced the news on May 24.