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An attosecond (as) is a unit of time that equals one quintillionth of a second, or 10 to the 18th power. To put the attosecond in the context of the speed of light, one attosecond allows light to travel the length of three hydrogen atoms. An electron transfers between two atoms in about 320 attoseconds.
The attosecond is also part of a chain connection of chronological measurements tracing back to the second.
The measurements begin with the femtosecond (fs), which is 1,000 attoseconds. A picosecond (ps) is 1,000 femtoseconds. A nanosecond (ns) is 1,000 microseconds (µs). A microsecond is 1,000 nanoseconds, and a millisecond (ms or msec) is 1,000 microseconds. This precise chain of chronological measurements is used to describe plenty of technological activity, including microprocessor clock speed or cycle time, data transfer rates and other types of hardware events.
New laser technologies have achieved speeds measured in attoseconds, where the fastest recorded laser pulses range in the dozens of attoseconds.