Physicists build an atom laser that can stay on forever

Lasers produce coherent waves of light: All the light inside a laser vibrates completely in sync. Meanwhile, quantum mechanics tells us that particles like atoms should also be thought of as waves. As a result, we can build ...

Going gentle on mechanical quantum systems

When thinking about quantum mechanical systems, single photons and well-isolated ions and atoms may spring to mind, or electrons spreading through a crystal. More exotic in the context of quantum mechanics are genuinely mechanical ...

Optical cavities could provide new technological possibilities

A research team from NTNU is studying a topic called optical cavities and how the light trapped in them interacts with atoms, molecules and other particles. The technology could prove valuable for the development of energy-efficient ...

One particle on two paths: Quantum physics is right

The double-slit experiment is the most famous and probably the most important experiment in quantum physics: individual particles are shot at a wall with two openings, behind which a detector measures where the particles ...

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Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics is a set of principles underlying the most fundamental known description of all physical systems at the submicroscopic scale (at the atomic level). Notable among these principles are simultaneous wave-like and particle-like behavior of matter and radiation ("Wave–particle duality"), and the prediction of probabilities in situations where classical physics predicts certainties. Classical physics can be derived as a good approximation to quantum physics, typically in circumstances with large numbers of particles. Thus quantum phenomena are particularly relevant in systems whose dimensions are close to the atomic scale, such as molecules, atoms, electrons, protons and other subatomic particles. Exceptions exist for certain systems which exhibit quantum mechanical effects on macroscopic scale; superfluidity is one well-known example. Quantum theory provides accurate descriptions for many previously unexplained phenomena such as black body radiation and stable electron orbits. It has also given insight into the workings of many different biological systems, including smell receptors and protein structures.

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