Monday, 19 September 2011


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". This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete values. There is a related term of quantum number. An example of an entity that is quantized is the energy transfer of elementary particles of matter (called fermions) and of photons and other bosons.

A photon is a single quantum of light, and is referred to as a "light quantum". The energy of an electron bound to an atom (at rest) is said to be quantized, which results in the stability of atoms, and 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 at the infinitesimal level.

Normally quanta are considered to be discrete packets with energy stored in them. Max Planck considered these quanta to be particles that can change their form (meaning that they can be absorbed and released). This phenomenon can be observed in the case of black body radiation, when it is being heated and cooled.