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[kwon-tahyz] /ˈkwɒn taɪz/
verb (used with object), quantized, quantizing.
Mathematics, Physics. to restrict (a variable quantity) to discrete values rather than to a continuous set of values.
Physics. to change the description of (a physical system) from classical to quantum-mechanical, usually resulting in discrete values for observable quantities, as energy or angular momentum.
Also, especially British, quantise.
Origin of quantize
First recorded in 1920-25; quant(um) + -ize
Related forms
quantization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for quantize


verb (transitive)
(physics) to restrict (a physical quantity) to one of a set of values characterized by quantum numbers
(maths) to limit (a variable) to values that are integral multiples of a basic unit
Derived Forms
quantization, quantisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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quantize in Science
To limit a variable or variables describing a physical system to discrete, distinct values. For example, the energy of electromagnetic radiation such as light at a given frequency must be an integer multiple of hν, where ν is the frequency and h is a Planck's constant; electromagnetic energy is thus inherently quantized (in this case, photons are the quanta of energy). The distinct orbitals of electrons in an atom are also a case of quantized energy. Many apparently continuous phenomena turn out to be quantized at a very fine level or very small scale; quantum mechanics was developed in large part to explain many unexpected cases of quantization in the natural world.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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