At very small scales, our world is subjected to the laws of quantum mechanics. All matter and radiation exhibit both wave and particle properties. We cannot simultaneously know the position and the momentum of a particle.

Version for ages 12 to 15

Light (electromagnetic radiation) behaves like a wave but it can also behave as a stream of particles carrying packs of energy called quanta. At small scales, particles can also act as quantum waves.

Version for ages 9 to 12

Quantum mechanics studies what happens inside atoms. Matter in the microcosm behaves differently than in the macrocosm.


Breaking down of the Quantum Big Idea of Science

Intermediate ideas of Science Small Ideas of Science

Subatomic particles properties

Subatomic particles behave differently than matter in the macrocosm. In these scales, particles exhibit both particle and wave properties (wave-particle duality). They are also subjected to the uncertainty principle, which states that their position and momentum, cannot be measured exactly simultaneously. Interactions of subatomic particles can cause the transformation of matter into energy and vice versa by emitting or absorbing specific quanta (a minimum amount) of energy.

Phenomena and applications

Quantum phenomena occur due to the interactions of subatomic particles according to their quantum properties and obey the laws of quantum mechanics. Some of these phenomena are used in contemporary applications like the scanning tunneling microscope and quantum computing.