Chapter 3

Getting Stuck in Energy Wells

In This Chapter

arrow Understanding potential wells

arrow Working with infinite square wells

arrow Determining energy levels

arrow Trapping particles with potential barriers

arrow Handling free particles

What’s that, Lassie? Stuck in an energy well? Go get help! In this chapter, you get to see quantum physics at work, solving problems in one dimension. You see particles trapped in potential wells and solve for the allowable energy states using quantum physics. That goes against the grain in classical physics, which doesn’t restrict trapped particles to any particular energy spectrum. But as you know, when the world gets microscopic, quantum physics takes over.

The equation of the moment is the Schrödinger equation (derived in Chapter 2), which lets you solve for the wave function, ψ(x), and the energy levels, E:

381885-eq03004.eps

Looking into a Square Well

A square well is a potential (that ...

Get Quantum Physics For Dummies, Revised Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.