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M Quack
M Quack is offline
#6
Mar8-12, 02:05 AM
P: 635
Math_way, where did you get that information? 10^-9 sec is a very short time (1 nano-second). One would expect the ground state of an isolated atom or molecule in good vacuum to be more stable than that.

The same topic was already discussed here:

http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=360664

Transitions to intermediate, metastable states are the basis of all lasers. The article below claims lifetimes of micro- to milliseconds.

http://www.rp-photonics.com/metastable_states.html