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Science

Tiniest Lamp Spans Quantum, Classical Physics 59

Posted by kdawson
from the just-small-enough dept.
Urchin writes "Physicists in California have made the smallest ever incandescent lamp using a carbon nanotube as the filament. The nanotube is so small it behaves as a quantum mechanical system but it's just large enough that the classical physics rules of thermodynamics should apply. Analyzing the light emitted from the tiny light will give the team a better picture of what happens in the twilight zone between the quantum and classical worlds." The New Scientist article doesn't mention the researchers' surprise, as the abstract does: "Remarkably, the heat equation and Planck's law together give a precise, quantitative description of the light intensity as a function of input power, even though the nanotube's small size places it outside the thermodynamic limit."
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Tiniest Lamp Spans Quantum, Classical Physics

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