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 methods", e.g., quantum computing, which uses quantum mechanical phenomena to help carry out calculations.

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