Quantum Tunneling

Explore the unique concept of quantum tunneling and its importance to modern technology.

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Requirements

On OS X 10.9 or newer, you will need to install a launcher application to run this Java activity. If you have not already installed it, please:

  • Download the launcher installer
  • Open the downloaded .dmg file and drag the CCLauncher application to your Applications folder
  • Return to this page and launch the resource

Delve into a microscopic world working with models that show how electron waves can tunnel through certain types of barriers. Learn about the novel devices and apparatuses that have been invented using this concept. Discover how tunneling makes it possible for computers to run faster and for scientists to look more deeply into the microscopic world.

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WARNING: Your data will not be saved. To save data, run this activity as a registered user. You can register at the project portal. Please view the requirements below before launching this activity.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 4D/H2*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the number of protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element. An atom's electron configuration, particularly the outermost electrons, determines how the atom can interact with other atoms. Atoms form bonds to other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons.
  • 4D/H10**. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the physical properties of compounds reflect the nature of the interactions among its molecules. These interactions are determined by the structure of the molecule, including the constituent atoms and the distances and angles between them.
4F. Motion
  • 4F/H6ab. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that waves can superpose on one another, bend around corners, reflect off surfaces, be absorbed by materials they enter, and change direction when entering a new material. All these effects vary with wavelength.
  • 4F/H6c. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the energy of waves (like any form of energy) can be changed into other forms of energy.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G/H3*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that most materials have equal numbers of protons and electrons and are therefore electrically neutral. In most cases, a material acquires a negative charge by gaining electrons and acquires a positive charge by losing electrons. Even a tiny imbalance in the number of protons and electrons in an object can produce noticeable electric forces on other objects.
  • 4G/H4ab*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that in many conducting materials, such as metals, some of the electrons are not firmly held by the nuclei of the atoms that make up the material. In these materials, applied electric forces can cause the electrons to move through the material, producing an electric current. In insulating materials, such as glass, the electrons are held more firmly, making it nearly impossible to produce an electric current in those materials.
  • 4G/H4d*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that semiconducting materials differ greatly in how well they conduct electrons, depending on the exact composition of the material.
  • 4G/H8** (BSL). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the motion of electrons is far more affected by electrical forces than protons are because electrons are much less massive and are outside of the nucleus.

8. The Designed World

8D. Communication
  • 8D/H2c. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that digital coding of information (using only 1's and 0's) makes possible more reliable transmission, storing, and processing of information.
8E. Information Processing
  • 8E/H3. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that miniaturization of information processing hardware can increase processing speed and portability, reduce energy use, and lower cost. Miniaturization is made possible through higher-purity materials and more precise fabrication technology.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 11B/M1*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 11B/M2. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that mathematical models can be displayed on a computer and then modified to see what happens.
  • 11B/M4** (BSL). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 11B/H1a*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that a mathematical model uses rules and relationships to describe and predict objects and events in the real world.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="">The Concord Consortium. Quantum Tunneling. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2011, September 21.</a>

AIP
Quantum Tunneling (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2011, September 21), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

AJP
Quantum Tunneling (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2011, September 21), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

APA
Quantum Tunneling. (2011, September 21). Retrieved 2017, June 25, from The Concord Consortium: https://concord.org/

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

This activity requires the Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart. You can download it at java.com.

On OS X 10.9 or newer, you will need to install a launcher application to run this Java activity. If you have not already installed it, please:

  • Download the launcher installer
  • Open the downloaded .dmg file and drag the CCLauncher application to your Applications folder
  • Return to this page and launch the resource

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Electron TechnologiesThis resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Electron Technologies project.

Grade Level
High School, Higher Education
Subject
Physics
Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation
Rating
0
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