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M Quack
Mar8-12, 02:05 AM
P: 662
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:

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