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Quantum tunneling and extra dimensions

  1. Jun 19, 2012 #1
    Hello. Okay, so there are some theories like string theory that say that there are extra dimensions of space that we cannot see. Extra dimensions if they exist would allow more degrees of freedom in movement. This website demonstrate how barriers insurmountable in a lower dimension would be easily traverse by going into a higher dimension:
    http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/four_dimensions/index.html

    Now in the phenomenon of quantum tunneling, a particle which would normally not be able to pass through a barrier is able to bypass that barrier and appear on the other side even though it didnt have enough energy to cross the barrier. So my question is this. Is it possible that the phenomenon of quantum tunneling is a result of particles accessing extra dimensions of space which allow them to travers through barriers that they wouldn't be able to pass in three dimensional space. Can quantum tunneling be regarded as evidence of extra dimensions of space and perhaps even string theory?

    Any answers would be appreciated. Im just a layman so please excuse me if my suggestion seems naive.

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2012 #2

    ZapperZ

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    Why do you desire an alternative explanation for quantum tunneling beyond what we know alreadyworks? There is no mystery here based on what QM has described. In fact, we know it so well, we use it in our modern electronics!

    An alternative explanation not only has to derive ALL of the experimental observations that we already have, but it must also distinguish itself by predicting and explaining something that the current description cannot.

    Zz.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2012 #3
    If Im not mistaken, quantum mechanics says that because of heisenbergs uncertainty principle, there is a probability that the tunneling particle will be located on the other side of the barrier. It seems to me that quantum mechanics says WHY a particle tunnels through a barrier but it doesnt seem to answer HOW it can tunnel through a barrier. Those questions dont seem equivalent to me. So my question is, can extra dimensions of space answer the how question? Or are we supposed to believe that a particle can literally disappear and appear somewhere else just because we cant be certain of where it is?
     
  5. Jun 20, 2012 #4

    ZapperZ

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    You are mistaken. It has to do with the wave function description. Furthermore, the particles just didn't disappear and appear. It traversed through the barrier. Read this thread.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=119696

    There is no mystery here. It would help that you first learn about the phenomenon of quantum tunneling before attempting to rewrite the physics.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
  6. Jun 20, 2012 #5

    jtbell

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    Quantum mechanics does not provide answers to questions similar to "how does it really happen?" in many or most situations. It predicts final outcomes successfully, or at least probabilities of those outcomes, but it does not give a detailed picture of what an object "really does" before it reaches that final outcome.

    People have come up with a number of viable interpretations of QM that attempt to fill in these "missing details." Unfortunately there's no way to distinguish between these interpretations by experiment, except for hints provided by experiments related to Bell's Theorem (which gets a lot of discussion here, by the way).

    I don't remember hearing of viable interpretations involving "extra dimensions." Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't exist, but I've been on PF for several years, and believe me, a lot of wild ideas have come up. :rolleyes:

    If you come across an "extra-dimensions" interpretation that has actually been put forth seriously in the professional physics community (our usual criterion is publication in a peer-reviewed journal), it's fair game for discussion. However, we don't deal with personal theories or speculations. (You can review our rules by clicking the "Ruies" link at the top of any page here.)
     
  7. Jun 20, 2012 #6
    Its not my personal theory. I was just asking a question. Sorry.
     
  8. Jun 20, 2012 #7

    ZapperZ

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    It's OK to ask question. However, if you are curious to know if an alternative descrription can explain something like quantum tunneling, you should first of all understand the phenomenon! If not, how can you tell if a descrtion can accurately describe ALL the empirical observations that we already know? I've shown an example where you didn't understand the phenomenon.

    The starting point here should not be the title of this thread. Rather it should have been "Quantum tunneling"

    Zz.
     
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