Most of us are familiar with the way time seems to stop under a flickering strobe light. Researchers use a similar trick to study atomic electrons—by pinging atoms with exceedingly short light pulses, they can watch electrons' quantum states evolve in unprecedented detail. In the latest advance in ultrashort pulses, a team led by researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics zapped atoms with a tightly controlled pulse of infrared light in order to generate much shorter pulses of extreme ultraviolet light, each lasting less than 100 attoseconds (an attosecond is one billionth of one billionth of a second). The team reported in Science that such bursts—among the briefest to date—will be just the thing to study the process of ionization, or the way that atoms and electrons split apart.