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Home / Science / All you need to know about ‘Zeptosecond’, the shortest unit of time ever measured

All you need to know about ‘Zeptosecond’, the shortest unit of time ever measured

According to the Independent, the Zeptosecond was measured when scientists at Germany’s Goethe University were recording the time taken by a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule.

science Updated: Oct 23, 2020, 04:58 IST
hindustantimes.com| Edited by: Harshit Sabarwal
hindustantimes.com| Edited by: Harshit Sabarwal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
‘Zeptosecond’  is the trillionth of a billionth of a second.
‘Zeptosecond’ is the trillionth of a billionth of a second.(File Photo. Representative image)

Scientists have discovered the smallest ever measurement unit of time. Known as ‘Zeptosecond’, it is the trillionth of a billionth of a second.

According to the Independent, the Zeptosecond was measured when scientists at Germany’s Goethe University were recording the time taken by a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule.

They irradiated a hydrogen molecule through X-Rays from the Petra III laser. The energy derived from these X-Rays was set up in such a manner so that one photon could send both electrons out of the irradiated molecule.

The entire process of the photon crossing the hydrogen molecule took only 247 Zeptaseconds.

“We observed for the first time that the electron shell in a molecule does not react to light everywhere at the same time,” Reinhard Dorner, a professor of atomic physics at Goethe, said in a statement.

Earlier, a study was carried out in 1999 which led to the discovery of the femtosecond which equals one quadrillionth of a second. Egyptian scientist Ahmed Zewail, discovered this unit of time while measuring the speed at which molecules change their shape. He was awarded with the Nobel Prize.

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