Even though a second is like a blink of an eye for all of us, time can be divided into far shorter periods. For instance, the inflationary model of the Big Bang Theory claims that the Universe expanded tremendously during only its first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a single second.
But today’s star of the show is the attosecond, a longer period of time but still worthy of attention. An attosecond means one billionth of a billionth of a second, and researchers might have found a way that such tiny amount of time can generate itself through industrial laser. An attosecond is important because it can allow scientists to measure the fast motion of electrons inside atoms. This can ultimately lead to a better understanding of how light and matter interact with each other.
$100,000 for creating attoseconds
Michael Chini, the study’s main investigator and also an assistant professor in UCF’s Department of Physics, declared:
One of the main challenges of attosecond science is that it relies on world-class laser facilities,
We are fortunate to have one here at UCF, and there are probably another dozen worldwide. But unfortunately, none of them are truly operated as ‘user facilities,’ where scientists from other fields can come in and use them for research.
The study shows that industrial-grade lasers can be used to generate attosecond pulses. Furthermore, these lasers can be purchased commercially from numerous vendors with a price tag of about $100,000. Chini also believes that the new study represents a big step towards making attosecond pulses more broadly available.
The simple functioning of an atom is partly a mystery for science, whether researchers admit it or not. Nobody knows exactly how all the matter was created (implying atoms), and also how the strict laws that govern the motion of atomic particles appeared.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.