Quantum Tunneling
Clay Sculpture “Quantum Tunneling” Paul Egan
What do the following have in common?
Ammonia Masers
Certain types of diodes
Alpha particle emission by Unstable Heavy Nuclei
Certain types of electron microscopes
Solar Panels
What do the following have in common?
Ammonia Masers
Certain types of diodes
Alpha particle emission by Unstable Heavy Nuclei
Certain types of electron microscopes
Solar Panels
They all involve Quantum Tunneling!
Quantum tunneling occurs for a simple
harmonic oscillator, but not for a particle in an
infinite square well potential.
Why?
Note that small difference in Alpha particle Energy corresponds to a huge
change in alpha-decay half life times (~20 orders of magnitude)!
Quantum Tunneling II
Tunneling Electron Microscope
Image
Move
Illustrations of the atomic structure of the single wall carbon nanotube peapod, which has
C60 molecules encapsulated inside. Also shown in the background are the electron waves in
this one-dimensional nanostructure that are mapped using a scanning tunneling microscope.
http://www.wired.com/news/images/full/nanotube_full.jpg
Tunnel Diode
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Quantum Tunneling Clay Sculpture “Quantum Tunneling” Paul Egan

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