The quantum realm (or quantum parameter) in physics is the scale at which quantum mechanical effects become important when studied as an isolated system. Typically, this means distances of 100 nanometers (10−9 meters) or less, or at very low temperatures (extremely close to absolute zero). More precisely, it is where the action or angular momentum is quantized - described as the uncertainty principle and spin, respectively.
While originating on the nanometer scale, such effects can operate on a macro level, generating some paradoxes like in the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. Two classical examples are quantum tunneling and the double-slit experiment. Most fundamental processes in molecular electronics, organic electronics, and organic semiconductors also originate in the quantum realm.
The quantum realm can also sometimes involve actions at long distances. A well-known example is David Bohm's (1951) version of the famous thought experiment that Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen proposed in 1935, the EPR paradox. Pairs of particles are emitted from a source in the so-called spin singlet state and rush in opposite directions. When the particles are widely separated from each other, they each encounter a measuring apparatus that can be set to measure their spin components along with various directions. Although the measurement events are distant from each other, so that no slower-than-light or light signal can travel between them in time, outcomes are nonetheless entangled.
- Classical mechanics
- Macroscopic scale
- Atomic scale
- Quantum mechanics
- Quantum field theory
- Schrödinger's cat thought experiment
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