With our new system, you can selectively look in a desired direction and at a very small part of the picture in front of you at any given time, by controlling the timing with femto-second -- quadrillionth
of a second -- precision," says Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, and the principal investigator of a paper describing the new camera.
The new camera technology opens up many possibilities, especially for scientists - natural processes taking place in a trillionth or even a quadrillionth
of second can now be captured on tape.
The new laser achieves 35 femtosecond pulses (a femtosecond is one quadrillionth
of a second) at a wavelength of 800 nanometers.
With the leap in laser technology from pulse duration measured in nanoseconds (1 billionth of a second) to one measured in femtoseconds (1 quadrillionth
of a second) new vistas opened in the practice of cataract surgery.
Femtosecond technology has truly revolutionised this area through Intralase, which uses tiny pulses of laser, a quadrillionth
of a second each, to induce a uniform layer of microscopic bubbles just beneath the corneal surface to create a flap.
In water, each bond lasts only one 100 quadrillionth
of a second (Curtis, 1983), yet so many are being formed and broken at any given instant that they cause the water molecules in a drop of water to cling together with considerable strength and yet to resist clinging together further, even when pressure is applied to them.
However, it is given as a main entry in our 1998 printing of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, where it is defined as one quadrillionth
of a second.
Beyond that, the quadrillionth
binary digit beckons.