Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quantum Tunneling - No Classical Analogue !

Consider a quantum particle with energy less than the potential energy barrier (that binds the particle) lying in a potential well. Is there any probability of finding the particle outside the well? Classically - NO ! The particle is always trapped by the potential and there is no chance for the particle to come out of the trap. If that is the case, there should be no chance of coming out of the alpha particle from a heavy atomic nucleus as they are bound by a strong potential barrier. George Gamow gave the theory of ALPHA DECAY saying that the alpha particles come out of the nucleus by a Quantum Phenomenon called the Tunneling. Therefore, a quantum mechanical particle trapped by a potential barrier can show up outside the barrier too ! - This is a phenomenon that can be explained ONLY by quantum mechanics !
There are broad range of phenomena of this kind that we can observe in nature everyday ! Here is a nice youtube video to explain this phenomenon:

1 comment:

tachyon said...

Sir you have tried to write something on Quantum Tunneling but i think the language is too much complicated and not understood by ordinary person.Please try to simplify your language.