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Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:37 pm
In the 10/04 lecture, Lavelle mentioned that light is absorbed/emitted in discrete units(quanta or photons). What is quanta and what are its units?
Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:42 pm
I don't think quanta have units, but rather act like moles which can be used to describe the amount of something (in this case energy).
Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:48 pm
A photon is a quanta, but not all quanta are photons. This is similar to all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares.
"A photon is the quantum of electromagnetic radiation. The term quantum is the smallest elemental unit of a quantity, or the smallest discrete amount of something. Thus, one quantum of electromagnetic energy is called a photon. The plural of quantum is quanta."
I dont believe quanta have units though.
Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:52 pm
Quanta or quantum in Latin is "how much", indicating that it's more of an amount of something that lacks units. For instance, in the context of photons, these quanta can simply be "packets" as Max Planck suggested of energy. The effect of these packets can be observed by analyzing the interaction between electromagnetic waves and matter.
Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:51 pm
We use quantum mechanics to describe the behavior of very small objects that can accept energy only in discrete amounts. These discrete amounts are called quanta. It's easy for me to think about quanta as the smallest unit of any physical property- whether that is energy, matter, etc. It is like a part that makes up a whole.