Quantum::planck    Quantum::journal    First::quanta    Title::physik    Theory::energy    Issue::volume

{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} {{#invoke:Pp-move-indef|main}}

In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized," referred to as "the hypothesis of quantization".<ref>Wiener, N. (1966). Differential Space, Quantum Systems, and Prediction. Cambridge: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press</ref> This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete values.

A photon is a single quantum of (visible) light as well as all other forms of electromagnetic radiation and can be referred to as a "light quantum". The energy of an electron bound to an atom is quantized, which results in the stability of atoms, and hence of matter in general.

As incorporated into the theory of quantum mechanics, this is regarded by physicists as part of the fundamental framework for understanding and describing nature.

Quantum sections
Intro  Etymology and discovery  Beyond electromagnetic radiation  See also  References  Further reading  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Etymology and discovery