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Ground State
The ground state of a quantum-mechanical system is its stationary state of lowest energy; the energy of the ground state is known as the zero-point energy of the system. An excited state is any state with energy greater than the ground state. In quantum field theory, the ground state is usually called the vacuum state or the vacuum. If more than one ground state exists, they are said to be degenerate. Many systems have degenerate ground states. Degeneracy occurs whenever there exists a unitary operator that acts non-trivially on a ground state and commutes with the Hamiltonian of the system. According to the third law of thermodynamics, a system at absolute zero temperature exists in its ground state; thus, its entropy is determined by the degeneracy of the ground state. Many systems, such as a perfect crystal lattice, have a unique ground state and therefore have zero entropy at absolute zero. It is also possible for the highest excited state to have absolute zero te ...
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Energy Levels
A quantum mechanical system or particle that is bound—that is, confined spatially—can only take on certain discrete values of energy, called energy levels. This contrasts with classical particles, which can have any amount of energy. The term is commonly used for the energy levels of the electrons in atoms, ions, or molecules, which are bound by the electric field of the nucleus, but can also refer to energy levels of nuclei or vibrational or rotational energy levels in molecules. The energy spectrum of a system with such discrete energy levels is said to be quantized. In chemistry and atomic physics, an electron shell, or principal energy level, may be thought of as the orbit of one or more electrons around an atom's nucleus. The closest shell to the nucleus is called the " shell" (also called "K shell"), followed by the " shell" (or "L shell"), then the " shell" (or "M shell"), and so on farther and farther from the nucleus. The shells correspond with the principa ...
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Crystal Lattice
In geometry and crystallography, a Bravais lattice, named after , is an infinite array of discrete points generated by a set of discrete translation operations described in three dimensional space by : \mathbf = n_1 \mathbf_1 + n_2 \mathbf_2 + n_3 \mathbf_3, where the ''ni'' are any integers, and a''i'' are ''primitive translation vectors'', or ''primitive vectors'', which lie in different directions (not necessarily mutually perpendicular) and span the lattice. The choice of primitive vectors for a given Bravais lattice is not unique. A fundamental aspect of any Bravais lattice is that, for any choice of direction, the lattice appears exactly the same from each of the discrete lattice points when looking in that chosen direction. The Bravais lattice concept is used to formally define a ''crystalline arrangement'' and its (finite) frontiers. A crystal is made up of one or more atoms, called the ''basis'' or ''motif'', at each lattice point. The ''basis'' may consist of atoms, mo ...
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Planck Constant
The Planck constant, or Planck's constant, is a fundamental physical constant of foundational importance in quantum mechanics. The constant gives the relationship between the energy of a photon and its frequency, and by the mass-energy equivalence, the relationship between mass and frequency. Specifically, a photon's energy is equal to its frequency multiplied by the Planck constant. The constant is generally denoted by h. The reduced Planck constant, or Dirac constant, equal to the constant divided by 2 \pi, is denoted by \hbar. In metrology it is used, together with other constants, to define the kilogram, the SI unit of mass. The SI units are defined in such a way that, when the Planck constant is expressed in SI units, it has the exact value The constant was first postulated by Max Planck in 1900 as part of a solution to the ultraviolet catastrophe. At the end of the 19th century, accurate measurements of the spectrum of black body radiation existed, but the distr ...
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Sine Wave
A sine wave, sinusoidal wave, or just sinusoid is a mathematical curve defined in terms of the '' sine'' trigonometric function, of which it is the graph. It is a type of continuous wave and also a smooth periodic function. It occurs often in mathematics, as well as in physics, engineering, signal processing and many other fields. Formulation Its most basic form as a function of time (''t'') is: y(t) = A\sin(2 \pi f t + \varphi) = A\sin(\omega t + \varphi) where: * ''A'', ''amplitude'', the peak deviation of the function from zero. * ''f'', '' ordinary frequency'', the ''number'' of oscillations (cycles) that occur each second of time. * ''ω'' = 2''f'', ''angular frequency'', the rate of change of the function argument in units of radians per second. * \varphi, '' phase'', specifies (in radians) where in its cycle the oscillation is at ''t'' = 0. When \varphi is non-zero, the entire waveform appears to be shifted in time by the amount ''φ''/''ω'' seconds. A negative value ...
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Particle In A Box
In quantum mechanics, the particle in a box model (also known as the infinite potential well or the infinite square well) describes a particle free to move in a small space surrounded by impenetrable barriers. The model is mainly used as a hypothetical example to illustrate the differences between classical and quantum systems. In classical systems, for example, a particle trapped inside a large box can move at any speed within the box and it is no more likely to be found at one position than another. However, when the well becomes very narrow (on the scale of a few nanometers), quantum effects become important. The particle may only occupy certain positive energy levels. Likewise, it can never have zero energy, meaning that the particle can never "sit still". Additionally, it is more likely to be found at certain positions than at others, depending on its energy level. The particle may never be detected at certain positions, known as spatial nodes. The particle in a box mo ...
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Particle In A Box Wavefunctions 2
In the physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small localized object which can be described by several physical or chemical properties, such as volume, density, or mass. They vary greatly in size or quantity, from subatomic particles like the electron, to microscopic particles like atoms and molecules, to macroscopic particles like powders and other granular materials. Particles can also be used to create scientific models of even larger objects depending on their density, such as humans moving in a crowd or celestial bodies in motion. The term ''particle'' is rather general in meaning, and is refined as needed by various scientific fields. Anything that is composed of particles may be referred to as being particulate. However, the noun '' particulate'' is most frequently used to refer to pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere, which are a suspension of unconnected particles, rather than a connected particle aggregation. Conceptual properties T ...
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Quantum Superposition
Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. It states that, much like waves in classical physics, any two (or more) quantum states can be added together ("superposed") and the result will be another valid quantum state; and conversely, that every quantum state can be represented as a sum of two or more other distinct states. Mathematically, it refers to a property of solutions to the Schrödinger equation; since the Schrödinger equation is linear, any linear combination of solutions will also be a solution(s) . An example of a physically observable manifestation of the wave nature of quantum systems is the interference peaks from an electron beam in a double-slit experiment. The pattern is very similar to the one obtained by diffraction of classical waves. Another example is a quantum logical qubit state, as used in quantum information processing, which is a quantum superposition of the "basis states" , 0 \rangle and , 1 \rangle . Here ...
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Proof By Contradiction
In logic and mathematics, proof by contradiction is a form of proof that establishes the truth or the validity of a proposition, by showing that assuming the proposition to be false leads to a contradiction. Proof by contradiction is also known as indirect proof, proof by assuming the opposite, and ''reductio ad impossibile''. It is an example of the weaker logical refutation '' reductio ad absurdum''. A mathematical proof employing proof by contradiction usually proceeds as follows: #The proposition to be proved is ''P''. #We assume ''P'' to be false, i.e., we assume ''¬P''. #It is then shown that ''¬P'' implies falsehood. This is typically accomplished by deriving two mutually contradictory assertions, ''Q'' and ''¬Q'', and appealing to the Law of noncontradiction. #Since assuming ''P'' to be false leads to a contradiction, it is concluded that ''P'' is in fact true. An important special case is the existence proof by contradiction: in order to demonstrate the existence o ...
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Wave Function
A wave function in quantum physics is a mathematical description of the quantum state of an isolated quantum system. The wave function is a complex-valued probability amplitude, and the probabilities for the possible results of measurements made on the system can be derived from it. The most common symbols for a wave function are the Greek letters and (lower-case and capital psi, respectively). The wave function is a function of the degrees of freedom corresponding to some maximal set of commuting observables. Once such a representation is chosen, the wave function can be derived from the quantum state. For a given system, the choice of which commuting degrees of freedom to use is not unique, and correspondingly the domain of the wave function is also not unique. For instance, it may be taken to be a function of all the position coordinates of the particles over position space, or the momenta of all the particles over momentum space; the two are related by a Fourier ...
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Spin (physics)
Spin is a conserved quantity carried by elementary particles, and thus by composite particles (hadrons) and atomic nuclei. Spin is one of two types of angular momentum in quantum mechanics, the other being ''orbital angular momentum''. The orbital angular momentum operator is the quantum-mechanical counterpart to the classical angular momentum of orbital revolution and appears when there is periodic structure to its wavefunction as the angle varies. For photons, spin is the quantum-mechanical counterpart of the polarization of light; for electrons, the spin has no classical counterpart. The existence of electron spin angular momentum is inferred from experiments, such as the Stern–Gerlach experiment, in which silver atoms were observed to possess two possible discrete angular momenta despite having no orbital angular momentum. The existence of the electron spin can also be inferred theoretically from the spin–statistics theorem and from the Pauli exclusion principle—and ...
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Stationary State
A stationary state is a quantum state with all observables independent of time. It is an eigenvector of the energy operator (instead of a quantum superposition of different energies). It is also called energy eigenvector, energy eigenstate, energy eigenfunction, or energy eigenket. It is very similar to the concept of atomic orbital and molecular orbital in chemistry, with some slight differences explained below. Introduction A stationary state is called ''stationary'' because the system remains in the same state as time elapses, in every observable way. For a single-particle Hamiltonian, this means that the particle has a constant probability distribution for its position, its velocity, its spin, etc. (This is true assuming the particle's environment is also static, i.e. the Hamiltonian is unchanging in time.) The wavefunction itself is not stationary: It continually changes its overall complex phase factor, so as to form a standing wave. The oscillation frequency of the st ...
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Integration By Parts
In calculus, and more generally in mathematical analysis, integration by parts or partial integration is a process that finds the integral of a product of functions in terms of the integral of the product of their derivative and antiderivative. It is frequently used to transform the antiderivative of a product of functions into an antiderivative for which a solution can be more easily found. The rule can be thought of as an integral version of the product rule of differentiation. The integration by parts formula states: \begin \int_a^b u(x) v'(x) \, dx & = \Big (x) v(x)\Biga^b - \int_a^b u'(x) v(x) \, dx\\ & = u(b) v(b) - u(a) v(a) - \int_a^b u'(x) v(x) \, dx. \end Or, letting u = u(x) and du = u'(x) \,dx while v = v(x) and dv = v'(x) \, dx, the formula can be written more compactly: \int u \, dv \ =\ uv - \int v \, du. Mathematician Brook Taylor discovered integration by parts, first publishing the idea in 1715. More general formulations of integration by par ...
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