For the first time, scientists have now measured the smallest fragment of time ever observed. A zeptosecond (one trillionth of a billionth of a second) was used to measure an electron escaping its atom. Before those scientists were only able to observe what happened after an electron leaves an atom.
This is the first time that the physicist “Marcus Ossiander”, who was involved in the study, and his team can measure the time required for the electron before it leaves its atom. They excited the electrons by firing laser pulses at the atom, what makes them able to observe the quantum behavior of that electron depending on “doing statistics for a lot of measurements and calculating the statistical standard error of the mean, which in our case is 850 zeptoseconds.”
“Using this information, we can measure the time it takes the electron to change its quantum state from the very constricted, bound state around the atom to the free state,” Ossiander said.
“Martin Schultze”, also involved in the study, said that this discovery will allow for better understanding in the future of phenomena including “superconductivity” and “quantum computing”.