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Plancks quanta?

  1. Sep 10, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone so normally I prefer the challenge of conceptualizing these types of things myself but I really am stuck. I can't grasp the concept of plancks quantas and it seems like an important first step in understanding quantum mechanics. It seems from what I've read that he basically found that frequencies arent random but are organized into groups with certain ranges and energy levels and only frequencies in those groups..exist I guess? As you can probably tell I'm really lost any help would be greatly appreciated this problem has been haunting me
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2013 #2

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Planck found that if blackbody radiation interacted with matter in small chunks of energy, instead of giving up or taking energy continuously, then he could devise a formula that correctly predicted how the energy of that radiation was distributed among the spectrum an object emitted. This doesn't mean that the frequencies are quantized, it means that the energy within each frequency is quantized. You can still have any frequency in an EM wave.

    This was taken further and it was shown that electron orbitals have discrete energy levels, which explained why gases such as hydrogen emit distinct frequencies when heated instead of emitting radiation all along the spectrum like a blackbody would.

    If you want a very good book that explains the very basics of QM and how it was discovered then I recommend the following:
    Introducing Quantum Theory
     
  4. Sep 12, 2013 #3
    Thank you very much for your response and ill definitely check out that book
     
  5. Sep 12, 2013 #4

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    I LOVE that little book. It's small enough to be carried in pocket and has very good explanations that require little to no math to understand. (Though knowing the math helps)
     
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