Recent changes in high school curricula show a surge towards teaching modern physics. Thus, we should seek effective experiments on quantum physics phenomena. I believe that a tunnel diode can provide such an opportunity. The tunnel diode’s unique property of allowing a small “tunneling current” contrasts with the familiar behavior of resistors, light bulbs, and even ordinary diodes. I cannot be the only physics teacher who thinks it is amazing to perform experiments on quantum tunneling! In this article, I present the fundamentals of quantum tunneling (as I would to high school students), perform the familiar IV curve graph experiment, and go further to explain how the tunneling current can be made visible by adding a light-emitting diode.
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TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM| January 01 2021
James Lincoln; Quantum tunneling experiments with tunnel diodes. Phys. Teach. 1 January 2021; 59 (1): 76–77. https://doi.org/10.1119/10.0003028
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