# White dwarf quantum tunnelling

• B
• YoungPhysicist
In summary, the video "The Last Light Before Eternal Darkness – White Dwarfs & Black Dwarfs" discusses how quantum tunneling will cause white dwarfs to eventually turn into black dwarfs, but the timespan for this process is so long that it can be considered forever. However, it is noted that nothing truly lasts forever, so the question is raised: how long will it actually take for this transformation to occur? The volume of a white dwarf is approximately equal to that of Earth, which is 1.08321 x 1027cm3. The problem is then reduced to determining the number of atoms or particles that must experience quantum tunneling. John Baez, in his article "The End of the Universe
YoungPhysicist
I just finished watching the video "The Last Light Before Eternal Darkness – White Dwarfs & Black Dwarfs"
At 5:17 he mentioned quantum tunneling will take up a timespan so long that calling it forever is ok.

But nothing takes forever,so,how long will it actually take?

ps:I later realized that this will be an extremely tricky problem to answer so just to make things clear, I am not in a rush of any kind :)

Last edited:
Update: White dwarf's volume ≈ 1.08321 x 1027cm3

Process:It is said that white dwarfs has approximately the volume as earth.
Wikipedia shows that Earth's volume is 1.08321 x 1012km3, which equals to 1.08321 x 1027cm3

Reason: I want to reduce this entire problem to "how many atoms/particles needs to experience quantum tunnelling".

PeterDonis said:
John Baez discusses this (along with a lot of other things that could happen in the really, really far future) here:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/end.html
In the article, he says that it will take roughly 101500years for it to occur, how does he calculate/assume that?

Young physicist said:
how does he calculate/assume that?

I'm not sure of the details of the calculation; it's possible that they are in one of the references he gives at the end of the article.

## 1. What is white dwarf quantum tunnelling?

White dwarf quantum tunnelling is a phenomenon that occurs in the cores of white dwarf stars. It is a quantum mechanical process in which particles, such as electrons, can pass through potential barriers despite not having enough energy to do so classically.

## 2. How does white dwarf quantum tunnelling work?

In white dwarf quantum tunnelling, particles have a small probability of passing through the dense core of the star due to their wave-like nature. This allows them to overcome the repulsive forces of the nuclei and escape the star's surface.

## 3. Why is white dwarf quantum tunnelling important?

White dwarf quantum tunnelling is important because it is the primary mechanism for energy production in white dwarf stars. This process is responsible for the high temperatures and pressures in the cores of these stars, keeping them from collapsing under their own gravity.

## 4. Can white dwarf quantum tunnelling be observed?

Yes, white dwarf quantum tunnelling can be indirectly observed through the emission of radiation from the star. The energy released from the tunnelling process contributes to the overall luminosity of the star, allowing us to study and understand it better.

## 5. Are there any applications of white dwarf quantum tunnelling?

While white dwarf quantum tunnelling is primarily studied in astrophysics, it has potential applications in other fields such as nanotechnology and electronics. The principles of quantum tunnelling can also be applied in quantum computing and cryptography.

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