|Abstract||That sounds like the worst kind of far-fetched rubber science, right? No self respecting science fiction writer would even consider writing a hard SF story using such an absurdly unphysical sequence of events. (Even TV writers might think twice.) But in atoms, which in many ways behave like miniature solar systems, an event just like the one described above would not be all that unusual. It's called a quantum jump . When an atomic orbit containing an electron is vacated by, for example, a collision, another electron from a higher orbit jumps to the newly vacant orbit while emitting a photon of light to carry away the energy difference between the high and the low orbit. In this process the electron, according to quantum theory, does not move in a continuous way between the first orbit and the second; instead it disappears from one orbit and appears in the other|
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