Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life-span of Materiality - Virtual particle lifespan

In the Abdhidharma Class (by Dr. Mehm Tin Mon) that I'm still attending, we have finally come to the chapter where the cognitive series is explained.

In there, the smallest unit of time for consciousness to arise and pass away is 3 submoments = 1 thought moment. A thought moment is so fast that in a wink of an eye, or a flash or lightning, there can be a trillion thought moments which had come and gone. There can be about 250 eye-winks in a second. Then a conservative estimate of a thought moment is that it's at least as small as a femtosecond, if not smaller.

For those unfamiliar with the measure of time, please refer to the table from wikipedia.

Factor (s) Multiple Symbol Definition Comparative examples & common units Orders of magnitude

5.4×10-20 ys = 5.4×10-44 s: One Planck time tP = \sqrt{\hbar G/c^5} ≈ 5.4×10-44 s,[1] the time required for light to travel one Planck length, is the briefest physically meaningful span of time. It is the unit of time in the natural units system known as Planck units. 10−20 ys, 10−19 ys (10−44 s, 10−43 s)
10−24 1 yoctosecond ys[2] Yoctosecond, (yocto- + second), is one septillionth (short scale) of a second. 0.3 ys: mean life of the W and Z bosons.[3][4][a]
0.5 ys: time for top quark decay, according to the Standard Model.
1 ys: time taken for a quark to emit a gluon.
23 ys: half-life of 7H.
1 ys and less, 10 ys, 100 ys
10−21 1 zeptosecond zs Zeptosecond, (zepto- + second), is one sextillionth (short scale)of one second. 7 zs: half-life of helium-9's outer neutron in the second nuclear halo.
17 zs: approximate period of electromagnetic radiation at the boundary between gamma rays and X-rays.
300 zs: approximate typical cycle time of X-rays, on the boundary between hard and soft X-rays.
500 zs: current resolution of tools used to measure speed of chemical bonding[5]
1 zs, 10 zs, 100 zs
10−18 1 attosecond as One quintillionth of one second 12 attoseconds: shortest measured period of time.[6] 1 as, 10 as, 100 as
10−15 1 femtosecond fs One quadrillionth of one second cycle time for 390 nanometre light, transition from visible light to ultraviolet 1 fs, 10 fs, 100 fs
10−12 1 picosecond ps One trillionth of one second 1 ps: half-life of a bottom quark
4 ps: Time to execute one machine cycle by an IBM Silicon-Germanium transistor
1 ps, 10 ps, 100 ps
10−9 1 nanosecond ns One billionth of one second 1 ns: Time to execute one machine cycle by a 1 GHz microprocessor
1 ns: Light travels 12 inches (30 cm)
1 ns, 10 ns, 100 ns
10−6 1 microsecond µs One millionth of one second sometimes also abbreviated µsec
1 µs: Time to execute one machine cycle by an Intel 80186 microprocessor
4–16 µs: Time to execute one machine cycle by a 1960s minicomputer
1 µs, 10 µs, 100 µs
10−3 1 millisecond ms One thousandth of one second 4–8 ms: typical seek time for a computer hard disk
100–400 ms (=0.1–0.4 s): Blink of an eye[7]
18–300 ms (=0.02–0.3 s): Human reflex response to visual stimuli
1 ms, 10 ms, 100 ms
100 1 second s
1 s: 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium-133 atom.[8] 60 s: 1 minute 1 s, 10 s, 100 s
103 1 kilosecond
(16.7 minutes)
3.6 ks: 3600 s or 1 hour
86.4 ks: 86 400 s or 1 day
604.8 ks: 1 week
103 s, 104 s, 105 s
106 1 megasecond
(11.6 days)
2.6 Ms: approximately 1 month
31.6 Ms: approximately 1 year ≈ 107.50 s
106 s, 107 s, 108 s
109 1 gigasecond
(32 years)
2.1 Gs: average human life expectancy at birth (2011 estimate)[9]
3.16 Gs: approximately 1 century
31.6 Gs: approximately 1 millennium
109 s, 1010 s, 1011 s
1012 1 terasecond
(32 000 years)
6 Ts: time since the appearance of Homo sapiens (approximately) 1012 s, 1013 s, 1014 s
1015 1 petasecond
(32 million years)
7.1–7.9 Ps: 1 galactic year (225-250 million years)[10]
143 Ps: the age of the Earth[11][12][13]
144 Ps: the approximate age of the Solar system[14] and the Sun.[15]
430 Ps: the approximate age of the Universe
1015 s, 1016 s, 1017 s
1018 1 exasecond
(32 billion years)
312 Es: Estimated lifespan of a 0.1 solar mass red dwarf star. 1018 s, 1019 s, 1020 s
1021 1 zettasecond
(32 trillion years)
3 Zs: Estimated duration of Stelliferous Era. 9.8 Zs:the lifetime of Brahma in Hindu mythology 1021 s, 1022 s, 1023 s
1024 1 yottasecond
(32 quadrillion years)
1.6416 Ys: Estimated half-life of the "stable" 20983Bi radioactive isotope. 6.616×1050 Ys: Time required for a 1 solar mass black hole to evaporate completely due to Hawking radiation, if nothing more falls in. 1024 s, 1025 s, 1026 s and more

And the smallest lifespan of rupa, or materiality is 17 times longer than a thought moment! Materiality is always arising and dissolving at all times, with one submoment arising, 49 submoments lasting, and 1 submoment dissolving. From there on, we can have a parallel comparison with physics.

The video above shows that we can see into the femtosecond realm. Literally. And this shows that the shortest measured period of time is 12 attoseconds. 

So physics has made stride into realms previously thought to be inaccessible. Clearly we don't see thing arising and dissolving at that time scale, so we'll have to push the concept of the thought moment back up to smaller intervals of time. What's the smallest in Physics? It's the theoretical Plank time~\(10^{-44}\) s.

Well, so let's try it this way first, in quantum physics, there is also the concept of foam particles, of virtual particles-antiparticles pair that arises and annihilate each other on the order of time allowed by the energy-time uncertainty relations

$$ \Delta E \Delta t \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}. $$

This reads the bigger the mass (by \(E=mc^2\), also energy) of the virtual particle pair, the shorter the time it is allowed to exist. What do we have to play with? Let's start with the current fundamental particles as in the standard model:

So for an electron (the lightest lepton that's not a neutrino), of mass times \(c^2\) is 8.18710414 × 10-14 joules, the time allowed for virtual positron and electron to exist is roughly \(t \sim 10^{-22}\) s. Divide that by 51, and we get about the upper limit for the estimate of the length of a submoment \(t\sim 10^{-20}\) s.

For the more massive particles like the top quarks, the time is around \(10^{-29}\)s. Thus lowering the limit for the submoment to 2 orders of magnitude less. Why stop there? Why not proceed a little bit more?

So let's just say that the submoment is the smallest unit of time there is, Plank time. Order of magnitude of -44. Thus the smallest unit of time for virtual particles to exist is of the magnitude of -42. And translating to the biggest mass this fundamental particle can take, is: \(m\sim 10^{-10}\)kg. Take note that \(m\sim 5 *10^{-8}\)kg. for the unsuspecting case of just pure physics, having not taken into account the factor of 51 in the calculations.

Maybe future particle accelerators( To test for that, we might need a galaxy sized particle accelerator!) will determine if we can made it through to that high mass or can we go beyond, in that case, maybe our minds are not limited by even the laws of physics!

Some unanswered questions are: do these arising and dissolving of materiality occur in normal "stable" particles in physics? I need to study Quantum Field Theory deeply in order to start answering that.

And what does this tell us about Loop quantum gravity which seems to act on scales of \(10^{-45}\) for Super inflation era? 

Also, the teachers told us that if we meditate well, we'll be able to see these smallest units of thought moments clearly. Is the mind the ultimate particle accelerator? Maybe particle physicists should spend more time meditating and find it out within their lifetimes instead of hoping for a future galaxy sized particle accelerator.

Anyway, this post has outlived it's usefulness, time to dissolve it.

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