pi·​co·​sec·​ond ˌpē-kō-ˈse-kənd How to pronounce picosecond (audio)
: one trillionth of a second

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The vector vortex beams could generate spin textures in roughly 10 picoseconds, about 10 times faster than conventional lasers. IEEE Spectrum, 10 Apr. 2023 Previous experiments had seemed to show light-sensitive molecules in this area in two different states at the same time — that’s quantum weirdness — but the effect lasted more than 1 picosecond, which is much longer than expected. Bill Andrews, Discover Magazine, 21 May 2018 Rapid switching is possible in principle (the laser should be able to switch in picoseconds), but that still has to be done in practice. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 17 May 2020 Lasers that generate picosecond pulses with average powers of 50W are not that hard to obtain. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 30 Aug. 2019 Ytterbium is highly stable, so ytterbium atomic clocks are accurate past the nanosecond scale, all the way to the picosecond and femtosecond scale (1/1,000,000,000,000,000th of a second). Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, 28 Nov. 2016 The result is that a pulse generator with a 14-bit digital-to-analog converter and a temporal resolution of 1 nanosecond can change the timing between the centers of pulses by just a picosecond or so. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 25 Jan. 2018 This has been the biggest breakthrough for laser technology in 20 years as the picoseconds release their energy in one trillionth of a second, breaking up the bonds of the tattoo ink into very fine particles. Nazanin Saedi, M.d., Philly.com, 11 Oct. 2017 In recent years, a variety of picosecond lasers have become commercially available. Nazanin Saedi, M.d., Philly.com, 11 Oct. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'picosecond.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

circa 1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of picosecond was circa 1962

Dictionary Entries Near picosecond

Cite this Entry

“Picosecond.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picosecond. Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


pi·​co·​sec·​ond ˈpē-kō-ˌsek-ənd, -ənt How to pronounce picosecond (audio)
: one trillionth of a second
abbreviation ps
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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