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Scientists Say an Instant is Now Shorter

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posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 09:46 AM
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The length of an instant has just become shorter, according to scientists.Researchers in Austria and Germany measured the smallest time interval recorded, and found it lasted a ten million billionth of a second.It's about ten times shorter than the previous shortest measured interval, which lasted about one femtosecond or a million billionth of a second.The scientists used pulses of laser light to watch an electron moving around inside an atom, distinguishing motion over periods as brief as 100 attoseconds.As an attosecond is a thousand million billionth of a second, the intervals recorded by the team are a ten million billionth of a second long. A gap of 100 attoseconds is to a second what one second is to about 300 million years.Details of the study are published in the journal Nature. Researchers at the Technical University of Vienna and the Max Planck Institute in Bielefeld, Germany, used pulses of ultraviolet light lasting 250 attoseconds to excite atoms - which in turn emitted electrons.

A laser recorder was used to mark the position of the electrons at intervals of 100 attoseconds, says The Times .It takes an electron roughly 150 attoseconds to complete a single orbit of the proton at the centre of a hydrogen atom, according to calculations first made by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr.

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posted on Feb, 27 2004 @ 09:50 AM
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Your tax dollars at work.....



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