# quantum theory

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## quantum theory

*n.*

**1.**A theory in physics based on the principle that matter and energy have the properties of both particles and waves, created to explain the radiation of energy from a blackbody, the photoelectric effect, and the Bohr theory, and now used to account for a wide range of physical phenomena, including the existence of discrete packets of energy and matter, the uncertainty principle, and the exclusion principle.

**2.**Any of various specific applications of this theory.

## quantum theory

*n*

(Atomic Physics) a theory concerning the behaviour of physical systems based on Planck's idea that they can only possess certain properties, such as energy and angular momentum, in discrete amounts (quanta). The theory later developed in several equivalent mathematical forms based on De Broglie's theory and on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. See wave mechanics

## quan′tum the`ory

*n.*

**1.**a theory for predicting the discrete energy states of atoms and of radiation.

**2.**any theory that describes a force or field using the methods of quantum mechanics: a quantum theory of gravitation.

[1910–15]

## quantum theory

A theory in physics based on the principle that matter and energy behave both as particles and as waves. According to this theory, matter and energy are composed of tiny units of electromagnetic energy called quanta. Quantum theory is used to explain such phenomena as the photoelectric effect and the uncertainty principle. ♦ Another term for quantum theory is

**quantum mechanics**, which also refers specifically to the use of quantum theory in studying the structure and behavior of atoms and molecules.## quantum theory

The theory that electromagnetic radiation consists of units called quanta or photons.

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Noun | 1. | quantum theory - (physics) a physical theory that certain properties occur only in discrete amounts (quanta)scientific theory - a theory that explains scientific observations; "scientific theories must be falsifiable" natural philosophy, physics - the science of matter and energy and their interactions; "his favorite subject was physics" indeterminacy principle, uncertainty principle - (quantum theory) the theory that it is impossible to measure both energy and time (or position and momentum) completely accurately at the same time |

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