Atomic Clock Can Determine Absolute Timing Of The Photoelectric Effect

According to scientists, the photoelectric effect can now be measured. Using a tungsten surface, the team and other research groups determined the duration of the photoelectric effect.

Electrons are released from the surface of certain materials when light strikes them. An electron from the material absorbs a photon, “jumps” into another state, and leaves the surface in attoseconds. This phenomenon, or photoelectric effect, is so fast that it was previously thought instantaneous.

While scientists have been able to determine the time interval between different quantum jumps and show that these different jumps take different amounts of time, the absolute duration of the process has previously been unknown.

The researchers were able to determine the absolute timing of the photoelectric effect using the atomic chronoscope method, which refers all measured timings to the moment of light-pulse arrival. They discovered and defined an atomic clock that begins precisely at the beginning of the quantum jump through experiments, computer simulations, and theoretical calculations.

The researchers began by studying electrons removed from helium atoms by laser pulses to achieve an absolute, precisely calibrated reference scale. Helium atoms were used as a reference clock. In their second experiment, the researchers compared helium and iodine photoemission and used the results to calibrate an “iodine clock.”

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