Quantum tunneling

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Quantum tunneling is ability of an electron to disappear on one side of a barrier and reappear on the other side. The most common example is when the barrier is an insulator, and an electron on one side of the insulator moves to the other side. The term "tunneling" is a bit of a misnomer because the electron does not actually travel through the insulator (insulators do not conduct electricity).

Quantum tunneling is important in radioactive decay, when an unstable nucleus emits an ionized particle, it utilizes quantum tunneling to do so.

Quantum tunneling is forbidden under classical physics and the theory of relativity, but recognized by quantum mechanics.

See also