Naming Infinitesimal Time Sequences
from the Yoctosecond (10−24) to Plancksecond (10−44)

The naming of time sequences by NIST, CODATA, ISO, BIPM and others has not progressed beyond the yoctosecond (10−24). The zeptosecond (10−21) and attosecond (10−18) are increasingly used in the scientific and academic journals. More and more work is being done with the Planck base units. Increasingly the time sequence at Planck Time is being referred to as a Plancksecond. It seems appropriate, but it has not been formally sanctioned by the international naming commission known as CODATA, the Committee on Data.

Max Planck opened an infinitesimally small universe for us. The 10−42 group includes the calculation for Planck Time which is at 10−44 seconds so naturally there are now many who have referred to it as the Plancksecond. In January 2021, there are over 12 million references to PlanckSecond (Planck Second) within Google Search (in February 2023, there are over 38 million).

The academy, including all the scientists and scholars who are responsible for the scientific names of things, has not yet formally named anything smaller than the yoctosecond (see page 3, Table 3). One can imagine that our experts had concluded, “There is nothing to be discovered that is smaller.” That may well be true, yet the mathematics of causal set theory, causal dynamical triangulations (CDT), string theory, Langlands programs, and current base-2 research use those ranges every day. So, there are five groups of numbers that await a formal name: 10−27, 10−30, 10−33, 10−36, and 10−39. Again, the 10−42 group includes 10−44 and the Plancksecond.

In October 2020 a formal request was made of Bonnie Carroll, the General Secretary of CODATA. In January 2021, a formal request was made of the president, Barend Mons. Now the requests are being made with the International Standards Organization (ISO) and its general secretary.

Nanosecond to Plancksecond (Planck Time)

Nanosecond to Plancksecond (Planck Time)
Nanosecond (10-9): One billionth of a second

A long, long way from the Nanosecond to the Plancksecond. Our mathematically-defined chart of the universe captures the nanosecond within Notation-114 at 1.1197×10-9 seconds. Notation-115 is 2.2395×10-9 seconds, Notation-116 is 4.479×10-9 seconds, and Notation-117 is 8.958×10-9 seconds.

That encompasses the first four groups of nanoseconds of the universe. The related length scale is in the domain in which most of life takes place. Here time is dynamic right back to the first instant.  Each notation defines the look and feel of the universe within that notation.

Wouldn’t you think that our entire universe shares this moment in time? If it is true for the first 116 notations, it may well be true for the next 86 notations.

A nanosecond is equal to 1000 Picoseconds. The Picosecond (10-12) is followed by the Femtosecond (10-15), the Attosecond (10-18) and the Zeptosecond (10-21).

The accuracy of time determination. The greatest accuracy achieved to date, the zeptosecond, was achieved in 2016 by a collaboration of three groups: Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich. They captured the timescale of photoionization. They were the first to make such a short determination of a unit of time. That followed their earlier work to establish the attosecond under the MPQ leadership of Ferenc Krausz and Vladislav Yakovlev.

The measurement of the Zeptoscond, just one sextillionth of a second — that’s a trillionth of a billionth of a second — is work led by a laser physicist, Martin Schultze. It is truly a measurement by devices, not just a mathematical calculation, and Schultze steps us back to somewhere in between Notation-74 and Notation-77 within our horizontally-scrolled chart.

On to Planck Time. As fast as it is, that zeptoscond is still rather slow when compared to 10−44 seconds given within Planck Time. Next will be the Yoctosecond (10−24), just one septillionth of a second. Within our chart, the Yoctosecond ranges from Notations 65-to-67.

No Names. The ISO-approved words for the next six categories (or groups) down to the Planck scale do not yet exist. Hardly trivial, until each group has an official name, they have a limited identity and study of them is more difficult.

The most recent International System of Units (SI) categories to be added were in 1991. It may well be time to call them back together again. They need to name those next six new groups: 10−27, 10−30, 10−33, 10−36, 10−39, and 10−42 seconds. Planck Time at 5.391 16(13)×10-44 seconds is within the 10−42 seconds’ expansion. It could be named a Plancksecond or PlanckSecond. To date, that combination of words has only been used casually to refer to an extremely short period of time.