In atomic clocks the controller is an evacuated microwave cavity attached to a microwave oscillator controlled by a microprocessor. A thin gas of caesium atoms is released into the cavity where they are exposed to microwaves. A laser measures how many atoms have absorbed the microwaves, and an electronic feedback control system called a phase-locked loop tunes the microwave oscillator until it is at the frequency that causes the atoms to vibrate and absorb the microwaves. Then the microwave signal is divided by digital counters to become the clock signal.[72]
The primary purpose of a clock is to display the time. Clocks may also have the facility to make a loud alert signal at a specified time, typically to waken a sleeper at a preset time; they are referred to as alarm clocks. The alarm may start at a low volume and become louder, or have the facility to be switched off for a few minutes then resume. Alarm clocks with visible indicators are sometimes used to indicate to children too young to read the time that the time for sleep has finished; they are sometimes called training clocks.

“I am the heaviest sleeper and was setting four or five alarms on my phone to wake me up. After being late a few times, I decided to purchase this alarm clock to help me wake up on time. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. … The bed shaker is super important. I put it under my pillow, and it shook me awake; the loud beep helped too. If you can sleep through earthquakes and shouting family members, this is the alarm clock for you.”
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