In the past week, before releasing the American version of Breakfast with Einstein today, I highlighted some everyday phenomena that rely on quantum physics.
Today, I want to talk about some quantum phenomena and how you can find them in surprising ordinary activities.
Quantum tunnel: Based on our normal intuition of how physics should work, one of the most surprising predictions of quantum physics is the phenomenon known as the "tunnel, "Where there are some possibilities for the emergence of quantum particles, they simply don't have enough energy to arrive, in classical terms.
We discuss this from the perspective of the energy barrier: a particle moves in some total energy (
Kinetic energy plus potential)
Come to the edge of a region where the interaction with other substances creates greater potential energy than its existing total energy.
This should make it better like a ball thrown into the air can't rise to the point where the potential energy generated by the Earth's gravity is equal to the height of the kinetic energy thrown into it.
But quantum mechanics tells us that if there is another free zone at the far end of the barrier, it has some (tiny)
The probability of appearing there is as if it were going through some kind of magical tunnel from one side to the other.
It's strange to think about it with everyday items. -
A dog does not enter the neighbor's yard through a fence (
Although a bad dog may pass through the dirt under the fence. . . ).
However, this has surprisingly direct applications in everyday technology in the form of smoke detectors.
One of the two main processes of modern smoke detectors is the use of a small amount of radioactive amer to ionize air molecules, generating a steady current flow between the two plates inside the detector.
When smoke particles enter the area between the plates, they are also ionised by radiation, but are too heavy to deflate into the plates and the current drops, triggering an alarm.
The specific decay channel that is more useful than making amer useful in this application is "alpha decay", where a very heavy nucleus decay by spitting out the helium nucleus: two protons and two neutrons are closely bound together.
The process initially seemed mysterious because the energy of the emitted alpha particle was much lower than the energy needed to launch the alpha particle into the nucleus.
However, the colorful Russian theorist George Gamo realized that this is exactly what you expect from the quantum tunnel: you can think of the nucleus as a collection of alpha particles inside the nucleus, there is not enough energy to escape, but due to the quantum tunnel effect they have very little chance of escape.
Chances are really small. -the half-
The life of the Amer is hundreds of years, and it is estimated how many times the alpha inside the nucleus will hit the barrier, trying to leave, about 1020 times per second.
However, this process is effective, so quantum physics plays a vital role in protecting what you have.
Photon: particle properties of light-
This was finally shown to have wave properties in Early 1800. -
It is one of the most controversial features of quantum physics, which was proposed by Ma Pu and Einstein.
Even Niles Pol, whose atomic quantum model is a revolutionary breakthrough with classical physics, is reluctant to accept "quantum light" and try to make a pure wave --
Like the model of light, enter the quantum era.
However, these days, quantum images of light as particles are not only accepted, but also essential for the technology that allows you to see cat photos on the Internet.
The particle properties of light are critical to photographs
Treated in a manner similar to the photoelectric effect, Einstein introduced a particle model to solve this phenomenon.
The energy contained in a single light particle is used to lift the electrons from the energy state, in which the electrons are combined in the detector chip and move freely.
These free electrons are collected inside the sensor, and the number of electrons in each pixel provides measurements of the amount of light that hits that pixel.
So it's a quantum process to take pictures of cats.
The sending of these pictures also depends on the particle properties of light, because modern telecom networks depend on the optical pulses sent through optical fibers.
These pulses are generated by the laser, and without the quantum interaction between light and matter, the operation of the laser is impossible.
The word "laser" begins its life, it is the initial acronym word of "radiation excitation light amplification", "and" excitation Emission "is a process first described by Einstein, in this process, a single photon of light is high
The energy state stimulates the atom to emit a second identical photon.
Repeat the process for enough time and you get a laser: a lot of photons (
A cheap laser indicator can emit 1015 photons per second)
All of the same wavelength move in the same direction.
This is exactly what it takes to couple light into fiber and send digital signals around the world.
Whenever you open your browser and view the latest pet photos from your favorite morale --Promotion site (
Or read a blog post about physics)
Then you use the quantum properties of light twice.
The principle of uncertainty: in the post on the electron spin, I mentioned that the persistence of solid objects is ultimately due to the Pauli exclusion principle, the strange phenomenon associated with spin that prevents multiple electrons from occupying the same state.
This forces them to enter a state of energy that is slightly higher than the energy they originally occupied, and prevents the solid object from exploding into an infinite small point with an infinite negative potential energy.
The spin effect is the reason for putting energy at the top, but most of the work is done by simpler quantum effects, one of the few people who have gained a reputation outside of physics: the hysenber uncertainty principle.
That is to say, our understanding of the nature of quantum objects, the most famous complementary pairs of positions and momentum is limited.
If we reduce the uncertainty of the position of some particles, we must increase the uncertainty of its momentum accordingly, and vice versa. This trade-
Off means limiting some particles to a very small area of space (
Thus making its position less uncertain)
Will inevitably increase energy (
Because the momentum uncertainty is rising, on average, it will have a higher momentum and thus a higher energy). That energy-
Increase the majority of uncertain relationships (but not all! )
The energy needed to stop a solid object from exploding. These ideas--
Tunnel, photon and quantum uncertainty-
It is the iconic "strange" phenomenon in quantum physics, and in the view that the people of the new theory strive to understand, they appear to be large, because they seem to be far from the Daily World.
However, it turns out that they are all essential for processes that are part of ordinary life, suggesting that quantum physics is around you if you know where to look. (
If you would like to see these phenomena, as well as other phenomena discussed in more detail, please pick up a copy of the breakfast with Einstein, available wherever you get the book. . . )