Atomic electron transition

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

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]

However, in 2019 it was demonstrated that the evolution of each completed jump is continuous, coherent, deterministic, and reversible.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schombert, James. "Quantum physics" University of Oregon Department of Physics
  2. ^ Vijay, R; Slichter, D. H; Siddiqi, I (2011). "Observation of Quantum Jumps in a Superconducting Artificial Atom". Physical Review Letters. 106 (11): 110502. arXiv:1009.2969. Bibcode:2011PhRvL.106k0502V. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.110502. PMID 21469850.
  3. ^ Observing the quantum jumps of light
  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. Bibcode:2015IJMSp.377..403I. doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2014.07.005.
  5. ^ Minev, Z. K.; Mundhada, S. O.; Shankar, S.; Reinhold, P.; Gutiérrez-Jáuregui, R.; Schoelkopf, R. J..; Mirrahimi, M.; Carmichael, H. J.; Devoret, M. H. (June 3, 2019). "To catch and reverse a quantum jump mid-flight". Nature. Retrieved June 10, 2019.

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