A team of German scientists managed to record the shortest time interval ever, which helped them measure the time it takes for a molecule of light to pass through only one molecule of hydrogen.

According to CNBC, this very short interval took 247 "zeptoseconds", and what is known in physics is that "zeptoseconds" are a fraction of many milliseconds.

According to physics, a “zepto-second” is equal to one trillion billionth of a second, equivalent to a number followed by 20 zeros.

Experts believe that this discovery culminates in a global effort to measure infinitely short time intervals in physics, which have not been recorded before.

Some may wonder about the benefit of these measurements, and here experts say that they benefit from the results in order to more accurately measure the changes of the atom through what is known as the "photoelectric" effect.

The German genius, Albert Einstein, presented his famous theory on the effect of "photoelectricity" in 1905, providing a description of the phenomenon that occurs when electrons are emitted from an atom, as a result of its exposure to light.

In 1999, the Egyptian scientist, Ahmed Zewail, used ultrafine "laser" pulses to observe how the particles undergo a change in shape.

After that, Zewail, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was able to measure slight changes in a time unit known as "femtosecond", which is a million billionth of a second.

The most recent achievement is currently by researchers from the Goethe University in Frankfurt, the Max Planck Foundation in Berlin and the DESY Research Center in Hamburg.

And these scientists were able to measure a shorter interval in time, and the results of the study were published in the scientific journal "Science", on the sixteenth of October.

The researchers shed rays from an accelerator device on a molecule of hydrogen, and the latter includes two protons as well as two electrons.

These protons and electrons are very small particles that move in the core of the atom, which have an electrical charge.

The scientists explained that they used only one particle of light, that is, one photon, to stimulate the electrons, and in a later stage, they used rapid reactions by an infrared "laser" to monitor what happened next.

When a photon was shone on the hydrogen molecule, an electron was released first, and a second later, waves occurred that allowed the scientists to complete the measurement.

Researcher Steve Grundman, an academic who completed the most important part of the study, said, "Since we knew the spatial orientation of the hydrogen molecule, we relied on the interference of the two electron waves to more accurately record the moment of arrival of the photon, as well as monitor the moment of arrival at the second hydrogen atom."

The scientists reported that this whole process required 247 "zeptoseconds" of the photon to pass through the hydrogen molecule, but things change according to the time separating the atoms in the hydrogen molecule when the photon is shed.

Source: Agencies

By:Nadeemy Haded

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