Temporally shaping the electric field of an attosecond pulse

Chemical reactions are determined at their most fundamental level by their respective electronic structure and dynamics. Steered by a stimulus such as light irradiation, electrons rearrange themselves in liquids or solids. ...

Laser physics: At the pulse of a light wave

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich and at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) have developed a novel type of detector that enables the oscillation ...

Attosecond control of an atomic electron cloud

Researchers at SAGA Light Source, the University of Toyama, Hiroshima University and the Institute for Molecular Science have demonstrated a method to control the shape and orientation of an electron cloud in an atom by tuning ...

Electronics at the speed of light

A European team of researchers including physicists from the University of Konstanz has found a way of transporting electrons at times below the femtosecond range by manipulating them with light. This could have major implications ...

Peering into plasma mirrors

When light interacts with a mirror which is moving towards it at a speed close to the speed of light, its wavelength is shifted into the extreme ultraviolet region of the spectrum. This effect was first predicted by Albert ...

Shooting movies in atoms

Researchers of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics at LMU and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics have developed a microscope that tracks the motion of electrons.

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An attosecond is an SI unit of time equal to 10−18 of a second. (one quintillionth of a second). For context, an attosecond is to a second what a second is to about 31.71 billion years, or twice the age of the universe.

The word "attosecond" is formed by the prefix atto and the unit second. Atto- was made from the Danish word for eighteen (atten). Its symbol is as.

An attosecond is equal to 1000 zeptoseconds, or 1/1000 of a femtosecond. Because the next higher SI unit for time is the femtosecond (10−15 seconds), durations of 10−17 s and 10−16 s will typically be expressed as tens or hundreds of attoseconds:

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