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

Examples of picosecond in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Phase errors measured in picoseconds can cause the microwave beam to blur or drift off its target. IEEE Spectrum, 9 May 2024 For instance, the absorption of photons in a solid results in an energy transfer from the light field to the atoms that occurs over attosecond to picoseconds or even longer. IEEE Spectrum, 9 Jan. 2024 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

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 24 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


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