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Monday, July 25, 2005

How many attoseconds will reading this entry cost you?

Being from the south, we tend to treat minutes like hours. So thinking about nanoseconds and computers that can do 11 trillion calcs per second (see below) is mindboggling to me.

Now comes word from the physicists that they may have studied the fastest process ever:
How long does it take an electron to jump from one atom to another? According to a team of physicists in Germany and Spain, the answer is just 320 attoseconds. They came to this conclusion using X-ray pulses to watch an electron as it travelled from a sulphur atom to the surface of ruthenium metal. The process was one of the fastest ever studied (Nature 436 373).
Story here.

What is an attosecond? An attosecond is one quintillionth (10-18) of a second" says whatis.com.

Yep, that's fast.

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