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Chupter 1:

IN1ROUC1ION


1. THE QUANTUM THEORY

In brieI, the quantum theory is about:

- energy being emitted and absorbed in discrete quanta` or none at all, and views
all electromagnetic waves can be emitted and absorbed in discrete 'quanta' only;
either the whole packet` is emitted or absorbed or none at all;

- matter existing at discrete energy levels only.



2. Evolution of the Quantum Theory

2.1 Max Planck (Black Body Radiation - 1900)

The black-body radiation problem was Iirst stated by Gustav KirchhoII in around 1860.
However, all principles oI classical physics had Iailed to provide any satisIactory
explanations Ior black body radiation. In 1900, Max Planck introduced a totally novel
concept: the discrete nature oI light energy. Prior to Planck's law, light was considered as a
continuous electromagnetic wave.

Max Planck (1900) showed that blackbody radiation could be explained only iI light energy
is treated as though it is emitted and absorbed in 'quanta' (meaning discrete amounts). In
Albert Einstein`s words (1940): 'To arrive at results consistent with the relevant
experiments, radiation of a given frequency f had to be treated as though it consisted of
energy atoms (photons) of the individual energy hf, where h is Plancks universal
constant.

Max Planck received the Nobel Prize in 1918 Ior his discovery oI energy quanta "in
recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics.

Planck's law (1900) was the Iirst quantum theory in physics; however, Ludwig
Boltzmann was the Iirst to have suggested, in 1877, that the energy states oI a physical
system, such as a molecule, could be discrete.


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2.2 Albert Einstein (Photoelectric Equation - 1905)

Albert Einstein took Planck's theory a step Iurther and proposed that light itselI is also
quantized according to this same Iormula.

In 1905, using his own quantum concept oI light and Planck`s law, Einstein developed a
law Ior the photoelectric eIIect, which adequately explained all observed quantitative
results oI the photoelectric eIIect.

Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics,
and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect".



2.2.1 Einstein`s Quantum Theory - The Wave-Particle Dual Nature of Light

In eIIect, Einstein proposed that light consists oI quanta oI energy (now called photon) and
that matter (e.g. an electron) absorbs one whole photon or none. Einstein`s quantum theory
oI light implied that light had a wave-particle dual nature, and was not immediately
accepted by all. Opposition to Einstein's radical light quantum hypothesis oI 1905
persisted until aIter the discovery oI the Compton eIIect in 1922.

In Iact, it was only towards the 1980s that Einstein's hypothesis that quantization is a
property oI light itselI was considered to be proven on the basis oI photon-correlation
experiments perIormed during the 1970s and 1980s. All semi-classical theories had, by
then, been reIuted in a deIinite manner.


2.2.2 First Application of Einstein`s Quantum Theory of Light: Structure of Atom

One supporter oI Einstein`s quantum theory oI light was Niels Bohr. Bohr was able to
largely understand the structure oI the atom, on the assumption that the atoms can only
have discrete energy values, and that the discontinuous transitions between them are
connected with the emission or absorption oI energy quantum. This threw some light on the
Iact that in their gaseous state elements and their compounds radiate and absorb only light
oI certain sharply deIined Irequencies.