Physicists have Recorded the Shortest Event in the History of Science
OREANDA-NEWS. Today, scientists have managed to measure what no one else has been able to do before. They have experimentally measured the duration of the shortest event in the history of science. It is the passage of an X-ray photon through a hydrogen molecule, which lasted only 247 zeptoseconds.
The new record is several times higher than the previous one set in 2016. Then the researchers measured the time it takes for a photon to knock an electron out of a helium atom (850 zeptoseconds).
There are also faster processes in the Universe, but this is the fastest, the duration of which has ever been determined in an experiment. After it had been recorded, the achievement was described in a scientific article published in the journal Science.
One zeptosecond is a negligible unit of time. This is 10-21 (that is, one billionth of one trillionth) of a second. It took just 247 zeptoseconds for a quantum (photon) of X-rays to cross a hydrogen molecule. So it is surprising that physicists were able to measure such a tiny amount of time.
In fact, there are two electrons in the hydrogen molecule H2. Scientists have selected the energy of a quantum so that it knocks out both electrons from the molecule (which is why X-rays were needed, the quanta of which have a sufficiently high energy). First, one electron left the molecule, then another. Between these events passed 247 zeptoseconds, which took a photon to get from one electron to another.