I was reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time and noticed a reference to: http://phys.org/news192909576.html where it is stated that:

12 attoseconds is the world record for shortest controllable time

This article is now almost 4 years old, is this still the record or is in the meantime this record broken?

  • $\begingroup$ I asked a very similar question here: physics.stackexchange.com/q/89975 $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2014 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ @BrandonEnright Both interesting questions. Is it right to assume that you're also interested in theory about the shortest timespan that may be measured, whereas this question is exclusively about empirical observation of short durations? (So the questions aren't duplicates.) $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2014 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ @BlackbodyBlacklight I don't think they're duplicates. Just related. I'm interested in the theoretical / experimental upper bound if time were discrete. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2014 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think the quantum time limits (e.g. the Margolus–Levitin theorem) might imply that the shortest controllable time will be dependent on the energy of the system doing the controlling. But a lot hinges on how we define control here. Causing a desired state transition? $\endgroup$ May 8 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


It seems that we reached zeptosecond controllable time in 2021:

Using transient magnons, Physicists have tuned the quantum phase of a quantum system embedded in a solid with a precision of 1 zs and a timing stability below 50 ys. [1]

[1] : https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abc3991 (Bocklage et al., Science Advances, Vol 7 Issue 5, 28 Jan 2021)

  • $\begingroup$ Link-only answers are generally frowned upon here. Can you please edit your answer to include the important details from the article, so that this answer stands on its own? $\endgroup$ May 8 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert done $\endgroup$ May 9 at 13:14

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