Scientists have measured the smallest unit of time: the time it takes for a light particle to pass Hydrogen Molecule.
At that point, for the record, it is 247 zaptosconds. A zaptoskind is a billionth of a billionth of a second, or a decimal point followed by 21 zeros and a 1. Earlier, researchers dived into the field of zaptoskinds; In 2016, researchers reported in the journal Nature physics Used a laser to measure the time in increments of 850 zeptoseconds. This accuracy is a huge leap from the 1999 Nobel Prize-winning work that first measured time in femtoseconds, which are in the tens of millions of seconds.
It takes femtoseconds to break and form chemical bonds, but it takes zeptoseconds for light to pass through a single hydrogen molecule (H2). To measure this short journey, Reinhard Derner, a physicist at the University of Goethe in Germany, and his colleagues shot him. X-ray A particle accelerator in Hamburg, from Petra III at Deutsch Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY).
The researchers determined the set of X-rays to be such that a photon, or particle of light, throws two electrons out of a hydrogen molecule. (One hydrogen molecule consists of two protons and two electrons.) These interactions formed a wave pattern called an interference pattern, which Dorner and his colleagues could measure with an instrument called the Cold Target Recall Ion Momentum Spectroscopy (CLTRIMS) reaction microscope. This tool is essentially a highly sensitive particle detector that can record very fast atomic and molecular reactions. The COLTRIMS microscope recorded both the interference pattern and the position of the hydrogen molecule during the interaction.
“Because we know the local trend of Hydrogen molecule, We used to accurately calculate the interference of two electron waves when the photon reached the first and when it reached the second hydrogen atom. Said in a statement.
That time Two hundred and forty-seven zaptoskinds, the exact moment the beam is separated by a photon depending on the distance between the hydrogen atoms inside the molecule with some wiggle chamber. The measurement is essentially gaining the speed of light within the molecule.
“We noticed for the first time that electronic shells in a molecule do not react to light everywhere at the same time,” Darner said in a statement. “Time is delayed because the information inside the molecule only spreads at the speed of light.”
The results were detailed in the journal on October 16 Science.
Originally published on Live Science.