tunnel effect


noun

Physics. a quantum-mechanical process by which a particle can pass through a potential energy barrier that is higher than the energy of the particle: first postulated to explain the escape of alpha particles from atomic nuclei.

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Also called tun·nel·ing.

Origin of tunnel effect

First recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for tunnel effect

tunnel effect

noun

physics the phenomenon in which an object, usually an elementary particle, tunnels through a potential barrier even though it does not have sufficient energy to surmount the barrier. It is explained by wave mechanics and is the cause of alpha decay, field emission, and certain conduction processes in semiconductors
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