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A picosecond is an SI unit of time equal to 10-12 or 1/1,000,000,000,000 (one trillionth) of a second. That is one trillionth, or one millionth of one millionth of a second, or 0.000 000 000 001 seconds. A picosecond is to one second as one second is to approximately 31,689 years. Multiple technical approaches achieve imaging within single-digit picoseconds: for example, the streak camera or intensified CCD (ICCD) cameras are able to picture the motion of light.[1][2]

The name is formed by the SI prefix pico and the SI unit second. It is abbreviated as ps.

One picosecond is equal to 1000 femtoseconds, or 1/1000 nanoseconds. Because the next SI unit is 1000 times larger, measurements of 10-11 and 10-10 second are typically expressed as tens or hundreds of picoseconds. Some notable measurements in this range include:

  • 1.0 picoseconds (1.0 ps) - cycle time for electromagnetic frequency 1 terahertz (THz) (1 x 1012 hertz), an inverse unit. This corresponds to a wavelength of 0.3 mm, as can be calculated by multiplying 1 ps by the speed of light (approximately 3 x 108 m/s) to determine the distance traveled. 1 THz is in the far infrared.
  • 1 picosecond - time taken by light in a vacuum to travel approximately 0.30 mm
  • 1 picosecond - half-life of a bottom quark
  • ~1 picosecond - lifetime of a single (hydronium) ion in water at 20 °C[3]
  • picoseconds to nanoseconds - phenomena observable by dielectric spectroscopy
  • 1.2 picoseconds - switching time of the world's fastest transistor (845 GHz, as of 2006)[4]
  • 1.7 picoseconds - rotational correlation time of water[5]
  • 3.3 picoseconds (approximately) - time taken for light to travel 1 millimeter
  • 10 picoseconds after the Big Bang - electromagnetism separates from the other fundamental forces
  • 10-150 picoseconds - rotational correlation times of a molecule (184 g/mol) from hot to frozen water[6]
  • 108.7827757 picoseconds - transition time between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom at absolute zero
  • 330 picoseconds (approximately) - the time it takes a common 3.0 GHz computer CPU to complete a processing cycle

See also


  1. ^ "Trillion-frame-per-second video". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Ultra high speed CCD cameras capture the motion of light". Stanford Computer Optics. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Lifetime of single hydronium (H3O+) ion at 20°C". BioNumbers. Retrieved .
  4. ^ James E. Kloeppel (2006-12-11). "World's Fastest Transistor Approaches Goal of Terahertz Device".
  5. ^ Lankhorst, D.; Schriever, J.; Leyte, J. C. "Determination of the Rotational Correlation Time of Water by Proton NMR Relaxation in H217O and Some Related Results". Berichte der Bunsengesellschaft für physikalische Chemie. 86 (3): 215-221. doi:10.1002/bbpc.19820860308.
  6. ^ Bulla, I.; Törmälä, P.; Lindberg, J. J.; Mikalsen, Ø.; Southern, J. T.; Edlund, K.; Eliasen, M.; Herskind, C.; Laursen, T.; Pedersen, P. M. L. (1975). "Spin Probe Studies on the Dynamic Structure of Dimethyl Sulfoxide-Water Mixtures". Acta Chemica Scandinavica. 29a: 89. doi:10.3891/acta.chem.scand.29a-0089.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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