That time, for the record, is 247 zeptoseconds. A zeptosecond is one billionth of a second, or 20 zeros and a trillion of a decimal point followed by a 1.
Previously, researchers dived into the realm of gyptosondes; In 2016, researchers reported in the journal Nature physics Used lasers to measure time in increments for 850 zeptoseconds.
This accuracy is a big jump from the 1999 Nobel Prize winning work, previously measured in women-times, of a billionth of a millionth of a second.
It takes femtoseconds to break and form chemical bonds, but it takes gyptosaccades for light to travel in the same hydrogen molecule (H2).
To measure this very short journey, physicist Reinhard Dörner of Goeth University in Germany and his colleagues shot X-rays from Petra III in a particle accelerator in Hamburg, Deutsches Alechrotron-Synchrotron (Deci).
The researchers determined the energy of the X-ray so that a single photon, or particle of light, would knock out two electrons from the hydrogen molecule. (A hydrogen molecule has two protons and two electrons.) Photons bounce one electron out of the molecule, and then another, a bit like a pebble at the top of a pond.
These interactions created a wave pattern, called an interfer pattern, that Donner and his co-workers could measure with a tool called the Cold Target Recoil Ion Momentum Spectroscopy (COLTRIMS) reaction microscope. The device is essentially a very sensitive particle detector that can record extremely fast nuclear and molecular reactions.
The COLTRIMS microscope recorded both the interference pattern and the position of the hydrogen molecule during the interaction.
“Since we knew the spatial orientation of the hydrogen molecule, we used it to accurately calculate the interference of two electron waves when the photons reached the first and second hydrogen atoms,” said Sven Grundmann, a university co-study. The author said in a statement by Rostock in Germany.
that time? Two hundred forty-seven gyptosaccades, with a fringed room at which the distance between the hydrogen atoms within the molecule lies, at which the photon is precisely timed by the wings. The measurement is essentially capturing the speed of light within the molecule.
Image: A particle of light, called a photon (yellow arrow), produces electron waves from the electron cloud (gray) of the hydrogen molecule (red: nucleus). The result of those interactions is called an interference pattern (violet-white). The interference pattern is slightly skewed, allowing researchers to calculate the time taken for photons from one atom to the next.
“We saw for the first time that the electron shell in a molecule does not react to light everywhere at the same time,” Dorner said in the statement. “Time is delayed because information within the molecule spreads only at the speed of light.”
The results were detailed in the journal on 16 October Science.
This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.