Elementary particle In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle whose substructure is unknown, thus it is unknown whether it is composed of other particles. Known elementary particles include the fundamental fermions (quarks, leptons, antiquarks, and antileptons), which generally are "matter particles" and "antimatter particles", as well as the fundamental bosons (gauge bosons and Higgs boson), which generally are "force particles" that mediate interactions among fermions. A particle containing two or more elementary particles is a composite particle. Everyday matter is composed of atoms, once presumed to be matter's elementary particles—atom meaning "indivisible" in Greek—although the atom's existence remained controversial until about 1910, as some leading physicists regarded molecules as mathematical illusions, and matter as ultimately composed of energy. Soon, subatomic constituents of the atom were identified. Overview Main article: Standard Model
Atomic nucleus A model of the atomic nucleus showing it as a compact bundle of the two types of nucleons: protons (red) and neutrons (blue). In this diagram, protons and neutrons look like little balls stuck together, but an actual nucleus (as understood by modern nuclear physics) cannot be explained like this, but only by using quantum mechanics. In a nucleus which occupies a certain energy level (for example, the ground state), each nucleon has multiple locations at once. The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom.
Diffraction Diffraction pattern of red laser beam made on a plate after passing a small circular hole in another plate Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle or a slit. In classical physics, the diffraction phenomenon is described as the apparent bending of waves around small obstacles and the spreading out of waves past small openings. These characteristic behaviors are exhibited when a wave encounters an obstacle or a slit that is comparable in size to its wavelength. Similar effects occur when a light wave travels through a medium with a varying refractive index, or when a sound wave travels through a medium with varying acoustic impedance.
Electron History In the early 1700s, Francis Hauksbee and French chemist Charles François de Fay independently discovered what they believed were two kinds of frictional electricity—one generated from rubbing glass, the other from rubbing resin. From this, Du Fay theorized that electricity consists of two electrical fluids, vitreous and resinous, that are separated by friction, and that neutralize each other when combined. A decade later Benjamin Franklin proposed that electricity was not from different types of electrical fluid, but the same electrical fluid under different pressures.
Quantum mechanics Solution to Schrödinger's equation for the hydrogen atom at different energy levels. The brighter areas represent a higher probability of finding an electron. Quantum mechanics gradually arose from Max Planck's solution in 1900 to the black-body radiation problem (reported 1859) and Albert Einstein's 1905 paper which offered a quantum-based theory to explain the photoelectric effect (reported 1887). Early quantum theory was profoundly reconceived in the mid-1920s. The reconceived theory is formulated in various specially developed mathematical formalisms.
Atomic orbital The shapes of the first five atomic orbitals: 1s, 2s, 2px, 2py, and 2pz. The colors show the wave function phase. These are graphs of ψ(x, y, z) functions which depend on the coordinates of one electron. To see the elongated shape of ψ(x, y, z)2 functions that show probability density more directly, see the graphs of d-orbitals below. Each orbital in an atom is characterized by a unique set of values of the three quantum numbers n, ℓ, and m, which correspond to the electron's energy, angular momentum, and an angular momentum vector component, respectively. Any orbital can be occupied by a maximum of two electrons, each with its own spin quantum number.
Neutron The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle that has the symbol n or n0. Neutrons have no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen-1, the nucleus of every atom consists of at least one or more of both protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are collectively referred to as "nucleons". Since interacting protons have a mutual electromagnetic repulsion that is stronger than their attractive nuclear interaction, neutrons are often a necessary constituent within the atomic nucleus that allows a collection of protons to stay atomically bound (see diproton & neutron-proton ratio). Neutrons bind with protons and one another in the nucleus via the nuclear force, effectively stabilizing it. The number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom is referred to as its neutron number, which reveals the specific isotope of that atom.
Electromagnetic radiation The electromagnetic waves that compose electromagnetic radiation can be imagined as a self-propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields. This diagram shows a plane linearly polarized EMR wave propagating from left to right. The electric field is in a vertical plane and the magnetic field in a horizontal plane. Lorentz force In physics, particularly electromagnetism, the Lorentz force is the combination of electric and magnetic force on a point charge due to electromagnetic fields. If a particle of charge q moves with velocity v in the presence of an electric field E and a magnetic field B, then it will experience a force. For any produced force there will be an opposite reactive force. In the case of the magnetic field, the reactive force may be obscure, but it must be accounted for. (in SI units). Variations on this basic formula describe the magnetic force on a current-carrying wire (sometimes called Laplace force), the electromotive force in a wire loop moving through a magnetic field (an aspect of Faraday's law of induction), and the force on a charged particle which might be traveling near the speed of light (relativistic form of the Lorentz force).
Quark A quark (/ˈkwɔrk/ or /ˈkwɑrk/) is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can be found only within hadrons, such as baryons (of which protons and neutrons are examples), and mesons. For this reason, much of what is known about quarks has been drawn from observations of the hadrons themselves. The quark model was independently proposed by physicists Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig in 1964. Quarks were introduced as parts of an ordering scheme for hadrons, and there was little evidence for their physical existence until deep inelastic scattering experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in 1968. Accelerator experiments have provided evidence for all six flavors.
Modelling molecular magnets The complete magnetic properties of the prototype molecular magnet Mn12 have been modelled, for the first time, by an international team of researchers. The calculations will be crucial for developing real-world devices from the material, as well as to study fundamental nanoscale quantum-phenomena such as magnetic tunnelling. Single-molecule magnets, such as Mn12, Fe8, Mn4 and V15, are natural ensembles of identical, weakly interacting magnetic nanoparticles that can switch their magnetization between two states, from "spin up" to "spin down" for example. At low temperatures, the magnetic state of the molecule persists even in the absence of a magnetic field.
Subatomic particle In the physical sciences, subatomic particles are particles smaller than atoms. (although some subatomic particles have mass greater than some atoms). There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which according to current theories are not made of other particles; and composite particles. Particle physics and nuclear physics study these particles and how they interact. In particle physics, the concept of a particle is one of several concepts inherited from classical physics. But it also reflects the modern understanding that at the quantum scale matter and energy behave very differently from what much of everyday experience would lead us to expect. Interactions of particles in the framework of quantum field theory are understood as creation and annihilation of quanta of corresponding fundamental interactions.