Thursday, 9 July 2009

Quantum Wave Function

Quantum Wave Function:
The wave nature of the microscopic world makes the concept of `position' difficult for
subatomic particles. Even a wave packet has some `fuzziness' associated with it. An
electron in orbit has no position to speak of, other than it is somewhere in its orbit.
To deal with this problem, quantum physics developed the tool of the quantum wave
function as a mathematical description of the superpositions associated with a quantum
entity at any particular moment.

The key point to the wave function is that the position of a particle is only expressed as
a likelihood or probability until a measurement is made. For example, striking an
electron with a photon results in a position measurement and we say that the
wave function has `collapsed' (i.e. the wave nature of the electron converted to a
particle nature).

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