Tunneling

 

Quantum mechanical process where a particle can pass through a barrier rather than having to go over the barrier.

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A classical particle or system could not penetrate regions in which its energy would be negative, that is, barrier regions in which the potential energy is greater than the system energy. In the real world, however, a wave function of significant amplitude may extend into and beyond such a region. If the wave function extends into another region of positive energy, the barrier is crossed with some probability; this process is termed tunneling (since the barrier is penetrated rather than climbed)

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