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In recent years, pulses as short as a few femtoseconds have been generated with optical lasers. But as Reid explains in his Perspective, achieving subfemtosecond or attosecond pulses requires shorter wavelengths. He highlights the report by Drescher et al., who have generated and measured the shortest laser pulses to date, with pulse durations of only 2.5 femtoseconds. Such short pulses may be used to gain new insights into atomic processes with time scales of only a few femtoseconds.