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Shark Science

Florida Researchers Create Shortest Light Pulse Ever Recorded 76

SchrodingerZ writes "Researchers at the University of Central Florida have created the shortest laser pulse ever recorded, lasting only 67 attoseconds. An attosecond is a mere quintillionith of a single second (1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000). The record-breaking project was run by UCF Professor Zenghu Chang, using an extreme ultraviolet laser pulse. '"Dr. Chang's success in making ever-shorter light pulses helps open a new door to a previously hidden world, where we can watch electrons move in atoms and molecules, and follow chemical reactions as they take place," said Michael Johnson, the dean of the UCF College of Sciences and a physicist.' Its hoped that these short laser blasts will pave the way to better understand quantum mechanics in ways we have never before witnessed. In 2008 the previous record was set at 80 attoseconds, the pulse created at the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany."
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Florida Researchers Create Shortest Light Pulse Ever Recorded

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  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @06:38PM (#41254397)

    A word to the wise when trying to get people excited about fundmental science: the number "1" followed by a lot of zeroes is meaningless to most people (even scientists). Please give us something to relate that number to and put it in scientific notation!

    They did give a unit that scientists can relate to when they said "67 attoseconds". The 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000 notation is just there for the layman for whom scientific notation means nothing, 1 x 10^-18 means little to most people, but lots of zeros make it clear that it's a very small number.

    67 attoseconds = 6.7 x 10^–18 seconds

    You're off by 10 -- 67 attoseconds = 67 x 10^-18, or 6.7 x 10^-17

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:59PM (#41255203)

    You can use pump and probe techniques to follow chemical reactions, so while it may not have direct "profit" it will be useful for scientific discovery.

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