Dirac sea


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Dirac sea

n.
In relativistic quantum mechanics, the completely filled, negative-energy electron state that makes up a vacuum. If a negative-energy electron transitions to a positive-energy state, the resulting hole has the properties of a positron.

[After Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One side of the board - called the Dirac Sea - is yin, the other yan.
Theorists had predicted that if a nucleus could be made with atomic number (that is, electric charge) greater than 173, it would produce an electric field strong enough to bring the energy of its innermost shell of electrons to the energy of the "Dirac sea.'