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Smallest amount of vibrational energy

  1. Apr 12, 2012 #1
    Would I use the equation E = 1/2 h√(ks/m) to work out what the smallest amount of vibrational energy that I can add to a system?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2012 #2

    Andrew Mason

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    If you are referring to a quantum harmonic oscillator, such as the vibration of a diatomic molecule, the energy levels are:

    [tex]E_n = \hbar\omega(n+\frac{1}{2})[/tex]

    where [itex]\omega = \sqrt{k/\mu}[/itex], μ being the reduced mass of the system and k being the spring constant.

    So the smallest amount of energy it can have is the zero energy level: [itex]E_0 = \hbar\omega/2[/itex]. The smallest amount of energy that can be added would be [itex]\hbar\omega[/itex].

  4. Apr 14, 2012 #3
    Thanks Andrew :)
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