Unformatted text preview: UCSD Physics 10 Quantum Mechanics
Small things are weird UCSD Physics 10 The Quantum Mechanics View All matter (particles) has wavelike properties socalled particlewave duality Particlewaves are described in a probabilistic manner electron doesn't whiz around the nucleus, it has a probability distribution describing where it might be found allows for seemingly impossible "quantum tunneling" Some properties come in dual packages: can't know both simultaneously to arbitrary precision called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle not simply a matter of measurement precision position/momentum and energy/time are example pairs The act of "measurement" fundamentally alters the system called entanglement: information exchange alters a particle's state UCSD Physics 10 Crises in physics that demanded Q.M. Why don't atoms disintegrate in nanoseconds? if electron is "orbiting", it's accelerating (wiggling) wiggling charges emit electromagnetic radiation (energy) loss of energy would cause prompt decay of orbit Why don't hot objects emit more ultraviolet light than they do? classical theory suggested a "UV catastrophe," leading to obviously nonsensical infinite energy radiating from hot body Max Planck solved this problem by postulating light quanta (now often called the father of quantum mechanics) UCSD Physics 10 Prequantum problems, cont. Why was red light incapable of knocking electrons out of certain materials, no matter how bright yet blue light could readily do so even at modest intensities called the photoelectric effect Einstein explained in terms of photons, and won Nobel Prize UCSD Physics 10 Problems, cont. What caused spectra of atoms to contain discrete "lines" it was apparent that only a small set of optical frequencies (wavelengths) could be emitted or absorbed by atoms Each atom has a distinct "fingerprint" Light only comes off at very specific wavelengths or frequencies or energies Note that hydrogen (bottom), with only one electron and one proton, emits several wavelengths UCSD Physics 10 The victory of the weird theory Without Quantum Mechanics, we could never have designed and built: semiconductor devices computers, cell phones, etc. lasers CD/DVD players, barcode scanners, surgical applications MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology nuclear reactors atomic clocks (e.g., GPS navigation) Physicists didn't embrace quantum mechanics because it was gnarly, novel, or weird it's simply that the #$!&@ thing worked so well UCSD Physics 10 Let's start with photon energy Light is quantized into packets called photons Photons have associated: frequency, (nu) wavelength, ( = c) speed, c (always) energy: E = h higher frequency photons higher energy more damaging momentum: p = h/c The constant, h, is Planck's constant has tiny value of: h = 6.63 1034 Js UCSD Physics 10 How come I've never seen a photon? Sunny day (outdoors): 1015 photons per second enter eye (2 mm pupil) Moonlit night (outdoors): 5 1010 photons/sec (6 mm pupil) Moonless night (clear, starry sky) 108 photons/sec (6 mm pupil) Light from dimmest naked eye star (mag 6.5): 1000 photons/sec entering eye integration time of eye is about 1/8 sec 100 photon threshold signal level UCSD Physics 10 Quantum Wavelength Every particle or system of particles can be defined in quantum mechanical terms and therefore have wavelike properties The quantum wavelength of an object is: = h/p called the de Broglie wavelength
(p is momentum) typical macroscopic objects masses ~ kg; velocities ~ m/s p 1 kgm/s 1034 meters (too small to matter in macro environment!!) typical "quantum" objects: electron (1030 kg) at thermal velocity (105 m/s) 108 m so is 100 times larger than an atom: very relevant to an electron! UCSD Physics 10 The Uncertainty Principle The process of measurement involves interaction this interaction necessarily "touches" the subject by "touch," we could mean by a photon of light The more precisely we want to know where something is, the "harder" we have to measure it so we end up giving it a kick So we must unavoidably alter the velocity of the particle under study thus changing its momentum If x is the position uncertainty, and p is the momentum uncertainty, then inevitably, x p h/2 UCSD Physics 10 Example: Diffraction Light emerging from a tiny hole or slit will diverge (diffract) We know its position very well (in at least one dimension) so we give up knowledge of momentum in that dimensionthus the spread
large opening: greater position uncertainty results in smaller momentum uncertainty, which translates to less of a spread angle small opening: less position uncertainty results in larger momentum uncertainty, which translates to more of a spread angle angle p/p h/p x h/h x = / x UCSD Physics 10 Diffraction in Our Everyday World Squint and things get fuzzy opposite behavior from particlebased pinhole camera Eye floaters look at bright, uniform source through tiniest pinhole you can makeyou'll see slowly moving specks with rings around themdiffraction rings Shadow between thumb and forefinger appears to connect before actual touch Streaked streetlights through windshield point toward center of wiper arc: diffraction grating formed by microgrooves in windshield from wipers same as color/streaks off CD UCSD Physics 10 The Double Slit Experiment particle? wave? UCSD Physics 10 Results The pattern on the screen is an interference pattern characteristic of waves So light is a wave, not particulate But repeat the experiment one photon at a time Over time, the photons only land on the interference peaks, not in the troughs consider the fact that they also pile up in the middle! pure ballistic particles would land in one of two spots UCSD Physics 10 Wave or Particle? Neither; Both; take your pick Nonintuitive combination of wavelike and particlelike Appears to behave in wavelike manner. But with low intensity, see the interference pattern build up out of individual photons, arriving one at a time. How does the photon know about "the other" slit? Actually, it's impossible to simultaneously observe interference and know which slit the photon came through Photon "sees", or "feelsout" both paths simultaneously! Speak of wavepart describing probability distribution of where individual photons may land UCSD Physics 10 When the mathematical machinery of quantum mechanics is turned to the hydrogen atom, the solutions yield energy levels in exact agreement with the optical spectrum Emergent picture is one of probability distributions describing where electrons can be
The energy levels of hydrogen match the observed spectra, and fall out of the mathematics of quantum mechanics The hydrogen atom Probability distributions are static electron is not thought to whiz around atom: it's in a "stationary state" of probability Separate functions describe the radial and angular pattern http://hyperphysics.phyastr.gsu.edu/hbase/hydwf.html UCSD Physics 10 The angular part of the story
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These plots describe the directions in which one is likely to find an electron. They are denoted with quantum numbers l and m, with l as the subscript and m as the superscript. The s state (l =0,m=0) is spherically symmetric: equal probability of finding in all directions. The p state can be most likely to find at the poles (and not at all at the equator) in the case of (1,0), and exactly the opposite situation in the (1,1) state. p d f UCSD Physics 10 electron always repelled Why do we not see tunneling in our daily lives? If the wall is much thicker than the quantum wavelength, tunneling becomes improbable electron usually repelled, but will occasionally pop out on the other side of the barrier, even though it does not have enough energy to do so classically UCSD Physics 10 Assignments References: Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe has an excellent description/analogy of the quantum solution to the ultraviolet catastrophe (among other quantum things) Chapter 31 isn't half bad: read it for fun, even! Assignments: Read Hewitt chapters 30 & 31 (Quantum & Light) Read Hewitt pp. 566572 on diffraction & interference HW 7 due 5/30: 26.E.3, 26.E.4, 26.E.10, 26.E.14, 26.E.38, 26.P.4, 31.E.4, 31.E.9, plus 4 additional questions available from website ...
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 Physics, mechanics, The Elegant Universe

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