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 time between jumps is exponentially distributed.[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 larger the energy separation of the states between which the electron jumps, the shorter the wavelength of the photon emitted.

The observability of quantum jumps was predicted by Hans Dehmelt in 1975, and they were first observed using trapped ions of mercury at NIST in 1986.[4] The optical Bloch equations are not consistent with quantum jumps.

Although changes of quantum state occur on the sub-microscopic level, in popular discourse, the term "quantum leap" refers to a large increase.[5]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Schombert, James. Quantum physics. University of Oregon Department of Physics.
  2. ^ Observation of quantum jumps in a superconducting artificial atom - http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.2969
  3. ^ Observing the quantum jumps of light - http://www.mpq.mpg.de/Theorygroup/CIRAC/wiki/images/8/86/Samuel.pdf
  4. ^ Itano, W. M.; Bergquist, J. C.; Wineland, D. J. (2015). "Early observations of macroscopic quantum jumps in single atoms" (PDF). International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 377: 403. doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2014.07.005. 
  5. ^ "quantum". Etymonline. 

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