Potential Barriers and Tunneling


The quantum mechanical nature of matter has some surprising consequences.  Suppose a free classical particle is incident upon a potential barrier.  If the kinetic energy, E, of a classical particle is less than the potential energy, V0, associated with the height of the barrier, then the particle is reflected.  However, if the particle were treated quantum mechanically, there is a probability of finding the particle on the other side of the barrier.  This phenomenon is called "tunneling".  As strange as it seems, evidence for tunneling can be demonstrated in the laboratory.

These exercises will examine the different facets of the interaction of a particle or a beam of particles with a potential barrier.  The exercises are divided as follows: 

Section 1



Section 2  E<V0

Section 3

Particle Scattering

Refer to Chapter 8, Sections 1-4 of Modern Physics by Bernstein, Fishbane and Gasiorowicz for a treatment of barriers.

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