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ZingPath: Nature of Subatomic Particles

Examples of Quantum Phenomena

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Nature of Subatomic Particles

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Lesson Focus

Examples of Quantum Phenomena


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You will expand your knowledge of the atom in an exploration of the nature of its parts. Learn about radiation, the dual nature of light, and get an introduction to the world of quantum mechanics.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Give examples of quantum phenomena.
  • Explain how digital cameras work, as an example of quantum phenomena.
  • Explain how scanning tunneling microscopes work, as an example of quantum phenomena.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What is quantum mechanics, and what does it help us understand?

~ Quantum mechanics describes the relationship between matter and energy in which particles are described as matter waves, using the mathematics of wave physics. Quantum mechanics allows us to explain the behavior of electrons, protons, neutrons, photons, and other particles that form atoms.

Explain the photoelectric effect that digital cameras use.

~ A photon is directed onto a solid target. The target absorbs the photon's energy rays, causing the matter to emit electrons. In digital cameras, a lens collects the photons and focuses them on a sensor. The sensor emits electrons until the shutter of the camera closes. The electrons are stored as negative electric charges. These stored charges are converted into numbers, or digital data, with the help of a computer. When the data is sent to a computer screen or is printed, it forms an image.

How does a scanning tunneling microscope form images?

~ The scanning tunneling microscope forms images using a very thin, sharp, conductive tip. The conductive tip moves very close to the surface that's being viewed but doesn't touch it. The scanning tunneling microscope creates a potential difference between the tip and the surface being viewed, and the electrons move from the surface to the tip.

What is the movement of electrons from the surface to the conductive tip called?

~ The movement of electrons in this situation is called quantum tunneling.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with the following terms: chemistry, digital cameras, and electron tunneling.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary chemistry, digital cameras, electron tunneling