Lassila, Kenneth E. Department of Physics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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A term characterizing an excitation in a wave or field, connoting fundamental particlelike properties such as energy or mass, momentum, and angular momentum for this excitation. In general, any field or wave equation that is quantized, including systems already treated in quantum mechanics that are second-quantized, leads to a particle interpretation for the excitations which are called quanta of the field. This term historically was first applied to indivisible amounts of electromagnetic, or light, energy usually referred to as photons.
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