Quantum Physics Applications
Quantum physics also known as quantum mechanics or quantum theory emphasizes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atomic and subatomic particles. This science determines to explain the properties of molecules, atoms and their constituents i.e. electrons, protons, and neutrons. It emphasizes on the interaction of particles with one another and with electromagnetic radiation.
The quantum theory has been successful in explaining microscopic phenomena. The success of quantum physics has been well-known because of its wide range of applications. We have listed some of the applications of Quantum Mechanics in this section to highlight its importance.
List Of Quantum Physics Applications
Computers and Smartphones
Basically, the entire computer industry is standing on the principles of quantum physics. All the semiconductors electronics based on the band structure of solid objects rely on Quantum Physics. This is because of the wave nature of the electrons as we can manipulate the electrical properties of silicon.
Piling up the layers of silicon doped with different elements help us to make transistors on the nanometer scale. However, hundreds and hundreds of these are packed together in a single block to make the computer chips which power all the technological gadgets that are very important in our modern day life.
Basically, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, small household appliances, and kids’ toys are driven by computer chips. All in all, these computer chips would not possible to make without the principles of quantum physics.
A Quantum Voltage standard
This theory also established a voltage standard and it proved to be extraordinarily accurate and consistent from laboratory to laboratory. The idea is that when two layers of a good conducting material are separated by a thin insulating barrier, a supercurrent (i.e., a current of paired electrons) can pass from one conducting material to the other.
Lasers and Telecommunication
The principles of fiber optic telecommunications basically rely on the quantum physics. Regardless of the fibers, the light sources used to send messages down the fiber optic cables are lasers, which are quantum devices.
Whenever you are making use of a laser either directly by scanning a UPC label on grocery products or indirectly by making a phone call you are making practical use of quantum principles.
A very common use of internet-connected smartphones is to locate/find directions to unknown places. However, a GPS application is dependent on quantum physics. The Global Positioning System GPS, a network of satellites each broadcasting the time, enables the smartphones navigation.
Each satellite in the GPS constellation contains an ensemble of atomic clocks. Basically, these atomic clocks rely on quantum mechanics, the ticking of the clock is the oscillation of microwaves driving a transition between two particular quantum states in a cesium atom. Generally, every time you use your phone to direct you from point A to point B, you are making practical use of quantum physics.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI
The spin of an electron is oriented relative to the spin of the nucleus of the atom which causes the energy shift in the atomic clocks. These spins are an intrinsically quantum phenomenon, causing the electrons, protons, and neutrons making up ordinary matter behave like tiny magnets. This spin is responsible for the application of quantum physics principles like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Anytime, you heard about the MRI scan, be thankful to the principles of quantum physics for their diagnosis and hopefully successful recovery.
Holography is a technique which allows three-dimensional images to be made. This process includes the use of a laser, interference, diffraction, light intensity recording, and suitable illumination of the recording. The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing system change, thus making the image appear three-dimensional.
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have wavelengths in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers. X-rays can be produced by an x-ray tube, a vacuum tube, or a particle accelerator. X-ray fluorescent is processed through which x-rays are produced. Surely, this would not have been possible without Quantum Mechanics.
Fluorescence and Phosphorescence
Fluorescence, a form of photoluminescence, is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. Mostly, the emitted light has a longer wavelength and therefore, lower energy than the absorbed radiation. It is possible for the intense radiation to have a shorter wavelength than the absorbed radiation by absorbing two photons by one electron.
Common examples of fluorescence and phosphorescence are the glow-in-the-dark toys, paint, and clock dials that glow for some time after receiving a charge from the bright.
The world’s first entanglement-enhanced microscope, developed by a research team at Japan’s Hokkaido University, fires two beams of photons at a substance. It measures the interference pattern created by the reflected beams, the pattern changes depending on whether they hit a flat or uneven surface.
We can also use the same technique to improve the resolution of astronomy tools called interferometers. It will superimpose different waves of light to better analyze their properties.
Traditionally, cryptography works using different keys:
- A sender uses one key to encode information.
- A recipient uses another to decode the message.
However, it’s difficult to decode the message. Nevertheless, this can be an easy task if we use unbreakable quantum key distribution (QKD). In QKD, the code about the key is sent via photons that have been randomly polarized. The recipient can use polarized filters to decode the key and then use a chosen algorithm to securely encrypt a message.
The Cesium Clock
This product makes use of alterations between the spin states of the cesium nucleus and produces a frequency. We have adopted this frequency to establish the time standard.
Quantum physics is almost essential to the modern life. Semiconductor electronics, lasers, atomic clocks, GPS servers, the cesium clock and magnetic resonance scanners all fundamentally depend on our understanding of the quantum nature of light and matter.
Squires, G.L. (2018, February 8). Quantum mechanics PHYSICS. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/quantum-mechanics-physics
Orzel. C. (2015, August 13). What Has Quantum Mechanics Ever Done For Us? Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2015/08/13/what-has-quantum-mechanics-ever-done-for-us/#e7a509440468
Squires, G.L. (2018, February 8). Applications of Quantum Mechanics. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/quantum-mechanics-physics/Applications-of-quantum-mechanics
Jenner, N. (2014, December 01). Five Practical Uses for “Spooky” Quantum Mechanics. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/five-practical-uses-spooky-quantum-mechanics-180953494/