Breakthrough: Physicists measured the smallest fragment of time

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A team of physicists was able to measure the changes happening inside an atom in a zeptosecond -the smallest fragment of time in the world.

At this detailed level, the experts were able to measure the entire process of an electron out of an atom in a test based on Einstein’s theory of the photoelectric effect.

The photoelectric effect was first proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905 – this occurs when particles of light, called photons strike electrons orbiting an atom.

According to quantum mechanics, the energy of the photon is absorbed entirely by electrons or divided between them. But until now, nobody has managed to study the process in detail. The end result is the electron that is wrested from the atom during an incredibly fast process. Previous research has suggested that the process should take between 5 and 10 attoseconds.

Until now, researchers were able to measure only after removing the electron from the atom-field. A team led by Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany failed to consider the second part of the first. Measuring what happens during previous elimination of electronic atom.

The trial conducted by lighting several photons by a helium atom lasers, managing to measure the entire photoelectric effect using precision zeptosecond.

Using information , we measure the time required for an electron to change the quantum state, ” said researcher Marcus Ossiander.

The team chose helium atoms for tests because their composition is only two electrons, which means that are quite complex so you can be examined quantum mechanical behavior.

Experts said that the work will help improve future technologies such as superconductivity and quantum computers.

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