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Thread: What defines a particles probability wave?

  1. #1 What defines a particles probability wave? 
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    So, as far as I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong), quantum tunneling happens because a particle is not a point, but a wave of probability, and that probability sometimes causes it to end up somewhere one wouldn't normally expect.

    My question is, how big is this wave? Is it a specific radius, or is it indeterminably large, but the edges are liek probability of 0. 000..<--might as well be infinite.

    Do some elements have a higher chance of tunneling? Do some particles have larger waves than others?


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  3. #2  
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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave%E...rticle_duality

    See above, particularly de Broglie waves.


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  4. #3  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Summer View Post
    So, as far as I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong), quantum tunneling happens because a particle is not a point, but a wave of probability, and that probability sometimes causes it to end up somewhere one wouldn't normally expect.

    My question is, how big is this wave? Is it a specific radius, or is it indeterminably large, but the edges are liek probability of 0. 000..<--might as well be infinite.

    Do some elements have a higher chance of tunneling? Do some particles have larger waves than others?
    The likelihood of tunnelling is determined by the extent to which the potential confining the QM entity damps the wave function out. If the barrier is not too high and sufficiently narrow, the wave function will have a some amplitude on the far side, which means the entity spends some time on the far side, i.e. there is a probability of it tunnelling out, even if it does not have the energy to get through the barrier.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Summer View Post
    So, as far as I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong), quantum tunneling happens because a particle is not a point, but a wave of probability, and that probability sometimes causes it to end up somewhere one wouldn't normally expect.

    My question is, how big is this wave? Is it a specific radius, or is it indeterminably large, but the edges are liek probability of 0. 000..<--might as well be infinite.

    Do some elements have a higher chance of tunneling? Do some particles have larger waves than others?
    Just to add a bit to the answers you've received, by now I hope that you have the idea that the wave is not an isolated property of the atom. The probability of tunneling depends on many factors, such as through what type of barrier is involved, how high it is (in energy terms), how thick it is, etc. So to ask if some particles have "larger waves" than others isn't quite the right way to look at it. The boundary conditions -- established by the rest of the system -- matter enormously. An electron's probability of tunneling through a barrier depends on much more than merely its "electron-ness".
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  6. #5  
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    i am following the same question
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