Are there any projects I can build? What are the applications of QM in electrical engineering?
This is rather odd. Pick up a semiconductor. We understand its behavior due to QM. I'm sure you are fully aware what semiconductors are you used in electrical engineering. If not, rip apart one of your electronic devices and look at your microchip.Are there any projects I can build? What are the applications of QM in electrical engineering?
I get what you're saying, but I think you're setting a pretty high bar. If what you mean by "use QM" means sit at a desk and solve Schrodinger's equation or run QCD simulations, then yes, I would say that IC designers don't use QM.Not really, not unless you're developing semiconductor devices. No one really uses QM when doing IC design. So in principle to understand why devices work QM is interesting but unless you're doing R&D, it doesn't matter. I actually talked to a guy leading IC development of a major company and he said they don't even touch QM, they purely use the standard device models.
Then practically speaking, QM isn't necessary or useful to electrical engineers, which is what the OP asked. Even the semiconductor physics/devices books I have looked at don't really use QM. I'm curious if device engineers even use it in its raw form.I get what you're saying, but I think you're setting a pretty high bar. If what you mean by "use QM" means sit at a desk and solve Schrodinger's equation or run QCD simulations, then yes, I would say that IC designers don't use QM.
On the other hand, we deal with a lot of very QM effects (such as gate tunneling). We have simplified models to deal with them, but that doesn't change the fact that the devices act in a QM way.
If the bar for working with QM is actually solving QM equations, then even most High-Energy Physicists don't use QM!
Actually, it's an interesting question - out of the physics that exists, what percentage is actually used? In particular, what aspects of the theory actually come into play when it comes to making useable things?The problem here is the vague meaning of "applying" what one learns in QM. Does using a solid-state transistor qualify as "applying" QM?
One doesn't need to know QM to make use of the fact that semiconductors have band gaps, even though the concept of "band gaps" came directly out of solid state physics's application of QM to the semiconductor band structure. You also don't need to know about tunneling phenomenon to make use of a tunnel diode, but the device clearly make use of a quantum mechanical phenomenon. Heterodyne mixer? Same thing.
I would even say that if you get a bunch of LEDs of different colors, you can even perform an experiment easily where you end up getting Planck's constant directly!
The term "useless" is relative. It may be "useless" directly to everyday application, but it is not useless as in basic knowledge. And from these basic knowledge, another level of knowledge that bridge that to practical application. So these "useless" knowledge is in fact, the SEED of subsequent knowledge that leads to applications.Actually, it's an interesting question - out of the physics that exists, what percentage is actually used? In particular, what aspects of the theory actually come into play when it comes to making useable things?
I suspect at best the highly theoretical subjects provide some idea why something works but separate models(maybe even based upon experiment) are created to actually describe things. The bandgap example is perfect.
QM is cool but how much application it has in its raw form? IDK, QED and QFT seem even more useless.
This is an example:Great post, but I'm curious. How is heterodyne mixing a quantum phenomenon?
That's very interesting, but I will quibble. What you linked to is indeed a quantum device that is a way to generate a nonlinearity that is used for heterodyne mixing. The mixing itself, though, simply requires a nonlinearity (almost any will do, in my prelims on one of the questions the professor used a wire hanger). So I would submit that while the particular device is quantum the technique itself (mixing) is not. Otherwise, you could define something as prosaic as amplification as a quantum phenomenon because transistors exist (but so do tubes and transformers).