A quantum is the minimum quantity of energy that can either be lost or gained by an atom.

An analogy is that a brick wall can only undergo a change in height by units of one or more bricks and not by any possible height. Planck showed that the amount of radiant energy absorbed or emitted by an object is directly proportional to the frequency of the radiation.

E=hv

In this equation, E is the energy, in joules, of a quantum of radiation, v is the frequency, and h is a fundamental constant called Planck’s constant. The value of Planck’s constant is h=6.626×10-34 J·s. The energy of any system must increase or decrease in units of h×v.

A small energy change results in the emission or absorption of low-frequency radiation, while a large energy change results in the emission or absorption of high-frequency radiation.

Summary

A quantum is the minimum quantity of energy that can either be lost or gained by an atom.

The value of Planck’s constant is h=6.626×10^-34 J·s.

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