Astrophysics (index)about


(minimal amount of something that triggers a reaction)

Quantum (plural: quanta) is a word for a minimal amount of something: in physics, specifically quantum mechanics, it is the minimum amount that can result in certain actions taking place. The word clearly borrows on the same word-root as the word "quantity", representing a kind of minimum quantity. An example quantum is the minimal amount of electromagnetic radiation's (EMR's) energy at a given frequency.

Such a minimum amount of EMR can be treated as a particle (termed a photon), and a beam of EMR acts like a stream of such photons. However, some situations famously show one of these "particles" to be passing through both of two side-by-side holes in a barrier simultaneously, a situation where considering EMR to be a wave spanning both holes offers a more straight-forward description.

The term, quantum is also often used to indicate "having to do with quantum mechanics", e.g., quantum computing, which uses quantum mechanical phenomena to help carry out calculations.

(physics,quantum mechanics)

Referenced by:
black hole (BH)
Bohr model
Boltzmann equation
Bose-Einstein statistics
degeneracy weight
electron degeneracy
electron orbital
false vacuum
intensity mapping
nanohertz gravitational waves
partition function (Z)
Pauli exclusion principle
phase space
photon noise
quantum mechanics (QM)
quantum mixing
quantum number
quantum tunneling
spin (ms)
state of excitation
Theory of Everything (TOE)
wave-particle duality