Kosuke Kato completed his PhD in atomic physics at Toronto's York University specializing in precision measurements on simple atomic systems, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. It was the perfect background for the opportunity he later found at the NRC—working with the Metrology Research Centre's Frequency and Time group developing an optical atomic clock, which is a clock so precise that it's able to keep steady and accurate time for longer than the estimated age of the universe (13.8 billion years).
Typical optical atomic clocks are large devices that can fill up entire lab spaces, but at the NRC, Kosuke's job has been to tackle the technological challenges of making them small and portable. Such compact systems will help realize the full potential of applications for optical atomic clocks, such as improved GPS accuracy, geodetic surveying of Earth's geopotential, searches for new physics, and more. It's also the key for Canada's involvement in redefining the SI unit of time—the second, expected to take place in the next decade or so.
"Building a clock that is portable will bring us a step closer to being able to realize the full potential of optical clocks. It's an exciting time to be building a new system and making something that will have an impact in many different ways," Kosuke says.
Being part of the NRC has been rewarding for him, as has been his time working with a team of bright scientists and engineers. "I really enjoy working here. We're one of the largest and most diverse groups in metrology, with people from many different cultural backgrounds. It's a nice group and a great fit for me!"
Find out more about the NRC's Postdoctoral Fellowship program and Metrology Research Centre.