What is Quantum Tunneling?

If you’ve taken physics before or are a math wizard, chances are that you’ve heard of Quantum Tunneling, or the Schrödinger equation. But what exactly is it and what does it have to do with tunneling?

According to Wikipedia, “Quantum tunneling is the quantum mechanical phenomenon where a subatomic particle passes through a potential barrier. Quantum tunneling is not predicted by the laws of classical mechanics where surmounting a potential barrier requires enough potential energy.” Wowzers, now that’s a mouthful!

In the video above by Khan Academy, Jay Shenoy gracefully explains how quantum tunneling works. If you’re a bit lost, its OK, so were we when we first watched it and still are (we skipped physics in high school and college).

But here is the catch, Quantum Tunneling has nothing to so with actual tunneling or boring, but rather shares a the same name in the name description. We thought we’d sprinkle some wisdom and highlight the difference between the two since it can create a bit of confusion for some of our new readers.

Anyhow, now that we’ve create a new brain wrinkle for you, should you want to impress that math geek at school or in your IT department at work, ask them if they know “how quantum tunneling affects a boring machines path”. Chances are that they probably won’t know what you’re talking about and you’ll appear that much smarter. You’ll glow! YW. Cheerio!