New method measures super-fast, free electron laser pulses

New research shows how to measure the super-short bursts of high-frequency light emitted from free electron lasers (FELs). By using the light-induced ionization itself to create a femtosecond optical shutter, the technique ...

Femtosecond

A femtosecond is the SI unit of time equal to 10-15 of a second. That is one quadrillionth, or one millionth of one billionth of a second. For context, a femtosecond is to a second what a second is to about 31.7 million years.

The word femtosecond is formed by the SI prefix femto and the SI unit second. Its symbol is fs.

A femtosecond is equal to 1000 attoseconds, or 1/1000 picosecond. Because the next higher SI unit is 1000 times larger, times of 10-14 and 10-13 seconds are typically expressed as tens or hundreds of femtoseconds.

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