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1/22/2019 Planck time - Wikipedia

Planck time
In quantum mechanics, the Planck time (tP) is the unit of time in the system of natural units known as Planck units.
A Planck unit is the time required for light to travel in a vacuum a distance of 1 Planck length, which is approximately
5.39 × 10 −44 s.[1] The unit is named after Max Planck, who was the first to propose it.

The Planck time is defined as:[2]


ħ = h⁄2π is the reduced Planck constant (sometimes h is used instead of ħ in the definition[1])
G = gravitational constant
c = speed of light in vacuum
Using the known values of the constants, the approximate equivalent value in terms of the SI unit, the second, is

where the two digits between parentheses denote the standard error of the approximated value.

Physical significance
See also
External links

The Planck time (also known as Planck second) was first suggested by Max Planck[3] in 1899. He suggested that there
existed some fundamental natural units for length, mass, time and energy. Planck derived these using dimensional
analysis only using what he considered the most fundamental universal constants: the speed of light, the Newton
gravitational constant and the Planck constant. The Planck time is by many physicists considered to be the shortest
possible measurable time interval; however, this is still a matter of debate.

Physical significance
The Planck time is the unique combination of the gravitational constant G, the special-relativistic constant c, and the
quantum constant ħ, to produce a constant with dimension of time. Because the Planck time comes from dimensional
analysis, which ignores constant factors, there is no reason to believe that exactly one unit of Planck time has any
special physical significance. Rather, the Planck time represents a rough time scale at which quantum gravitational 1/2
1/22/2019 Planck time - Wikipedia

effects are likely to become important. This essentially means that whilst smaller units of time can exist, they are so
small their effect on our existence is negligible. The nature of those effects, and the exact time scale at which they
would occur, would need to be derived from an actual theory of quantum gravity.

The reciprocal of the Planck time, which is Planck frequency, can be interpreted as an upper bound on the frequency of
a wave. This follows from the interpretation of the Planck length as a minimal length, and hence a lower bound on the

All scientific experiments and human experiences occur over time scales that are dozens of orders of magnitude longer
than the Planck time,[4] making any events happening at the Planck scale undetectable with current scientific
knowledge. As of November 2016, the smallest time interval uncertainty in direct measurements is on the order of 850
zeptoseconds (8.50 × 10−19 seconds)[5]

See also
Orders of magnitude (time)
Planck energy
Planck era
Quantum clock

1. "Big Bang models back to Planck time" ( Georgia
State University. 19 June 2005.
2. CODATA Value: Planck Time ( – The NIST Reference on Constants,
Units, and Uncertainty.
3. M. Planck. Naturlische Masseinheiten. Der Koniglich Preussischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, p. 479, 1899
4. "First Second of the Big Bang". How The Universe Works 3. 2014. Discovery Science.
5. "Scientists have measured the smallest fragment of time ever" (
e-smallest-fragment-of-time-ever-witness-an-electron-escaping-an-atom). 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2012-04-19.

External links
"Planck Era" and "Planck Time" ( (up to 10−43 seconds
after birth of Universe) (University of Oregon).

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This page was last edited on 12 December 2018, at 00:46 (UTC).

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