the word quantum marks, derived from the word quantity (of lat. quantus “like much”), a small quantity. Used in physics this term, if appearing macroscopically continuous physical dimension only in certain, not far lower partable quantities arises.Exist about size, which only in integral multiples of a certain, to smallest quantity arise.

Often with the term quantum a particle character of the regarded size is implied. This is not however part of the actual meaning of the term. An example ofQuantum, to which one cannot attribute meaningfully a particle character is the angular momentum quantum.

The term is not used however, in order to designate the atomic structure of the subject, although a smallest quantity unit arises also here.

Examples of quanta:

  • The photon asQuantum of the electromagnetic field can occur with any energy quantity, but to be only as a whole produced or destroyed.
  • The phonon as quantum of mechanical distortion waves in the solid body
  • the Plasmon as quantum of a suggestion in the solid body, with which the charge carriers swing against each other.
  • The Magnon as quantum of magnetic suggestions
  • the quantum of the angular momentum, that not as particles is interpreted

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Wiktionary: Quantum - word origin, synonyms and translations

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