Atomic electron transition

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For the TV series, see Quantum Leap. For the sculpture, see The Quantum Leap.

Atomic electron transition is a change of an electron from one quantum state to another within an atom[1] or artificial atom.[2] It appears discontinuous as the electron "jumps" from one energy level to another in a few nanoseconds or less. It is also known as atomic transition, quantum jump, or quantum leap.

Electron transitions cause the emission or absorption of electromagnetic radiation in the form of quantized units called photons. Their statistics are Poissonian, and the damping of statistic values of time between jumps is exponential on average.[3] The damping time constant (which ranges from nanoseconds to a few seconds) relates to the natural, pressure, and field broadening of spectral lines. The farther the electron jumps, the shorter the wavelength of the photon emitted, meaning they emit different colors based on how far they jump.

The prediction[4] and doubt was present in the 1980s.[5] Nevertheless it was shown experimentally, that the fluorescence rate of a single atom can not be calculated by Maxwell-Bloch equations.

Although changes of quantum state occur on the submicroscopic level, in popular discourse, the term "quantum leap" refers to a large increase.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schombert, James. Quantum physics. University of Oregon Department of Physics.
  2. ^ Observation of quantum jumps in a superconducting artificial atom -
  3. ^ Observing the quantum jumps of light -
  4. ^ - Richard J. Cook, H. J. Kimble, 1985
  5. ^ - W.M. Itano, J.C. Bergquist, David J. Wineland: Early observations of macroscopic quantum jumps in single atoms

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