**Are you an EPFL student looking for a semester project?**

Work with us on data science and visualisation projects, and deploy your project as an app on top of Graph Search.

Concept# Particle in a box

Summary

In quantum mechanics, the particle in a box model (also known as the infinite potential well or the infinite square well) describes a particle free to move in a small space surrounded by impenetrable barriers. The model is mainly used as a hypothetical example to illustrate the differences between classical and quantum systems. In classical systems, for example, a particle trapped inside a large box can move at any speed within the box and it is no more likely to be found at one position than another. However, when the well becomes very narrow (on the scale of a few nanometers), quantum effects become important. The particle may only occupy certain positive energy levels. Likewise, it can never have zero energy, meaning that the particle can never "sit still". Additionally, it is more likely to be found at certain positions than at others, depending on its energy level. The particle may never be detected at certain positions, known as spatial nodes.
The particle in a box model is one of the very few problems in quantum mechanics which can be solved analytically, without approximations. Due to its simplicity, the model allows insight into quantum effects without the need for complicated mathematics. It serves as a simple illustration of how energy quantizations (energy levels), which are found in more complicated quantum systems such as atoms and molecules, come about. It is one of the first quantum mechanics problems taught in undergraduate physics courses, and it is commonly used as an approximation for more complicated quantum systems.
The simplest form of the particle in a box model considers a one-dimensional system. Here, the particle may only move backwards and forwards along a straight line with impenetrable barriers at either end.
The walls of a one-dimensional box may be seen as regions of space with an infinitely large potential energy. Conversely, the interior of the box has a constant, zero potential energy. This means that no forces act upon the particle inside the box and it can move freely in that region.

Official source

This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.

Related courses (24)

Related publications (104)

Related people (27)

Related concepts (21)

Ontological neighbourhood

Related units (8)

Related lectures (84)

PHYS-206: Physics IV

Ondes et introduction à la relativité restreinte.

PHYS-426: Quantum physics IV

Introduction to the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. Derivation of the perturbation expansion of Green's functions in terms of Feynman diagrams. Several applications will be presented,

PHYS-100: Advanced physics I (mechanics)

La Physique Générale I (avancée) couvre la mécanique du point et du solide indéformable. Apprendre la mécanique, c'est apprendre à mettre sous forme mathématique un phénomène physique, en modélisant l

Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quantum physics including quantum chemistry, quantum field theory, quantum technology, and quantum information science. Classical physics, the collection of theories that existed before the advent of quantum mechanics, describes many aspects of nature at an ordinary (macroscopic) scale, but is not sufficient for describing them at small (atomic and subatomic) scales.

Wave function

In quantum physics, a wave function (or wavefunction), represented by the Greek letter Ψ, is a mathematical description of the quantum state of an isolated quantum system. In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the wave function is a complex-valued probability amplitude; the probabilities for the possible results of the measurements made on a measured system can be derived from the wave function. The most common symbols for a wave function are the Greek letters ψ and Ψ (lower-case and capital psi, respectively).

Uncertainty principle

In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle (also known as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle) is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the product of the accuracy of certain related pairs of measurements on a quantum system, such as position, x, and momentum, p. Such paired-variables are known as complementary variables or canonically conjugate variables.

The Particle in a Box

Covers the particle in a box, discussing wave functions and energy levels.

Quantum Mechanics: Particle in a Box

Covers the quantum mechanics of a particle in a confined box and its energy levels.

Quantum Mechanics: State Systems

Covers the fundamentals of quantum mechanics, focusing on state systems and observable measurements.

Colloids self-organize into icosahedral clusters composed of a Mackay core and an anti-Mackay shell under spherical confinement to minimize the free energy. This study explores the variation of surface arrangements of colloids in icosahedral clusters, focu ...

Sylvie Roke, Arianna Marchioro, Bingxin Chu

Polarimetric angle-resolved second-harmonic scattering (AR-SHS) is an all-optical tool enabling the study of unlabeled interfaces of nano-sized particles in an aqueous solution. As the second harmonic signal is modulated by interference between nonlinear c ...

Correct prediction of particle transport by surface waves is crucial in many practical applications such as search and rescue or salvage operations and pollution tracking and clean-up efforts. Recent results by Deike et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 829, 2017, ...