virtual quantum

virtual quantum

[′vər·chə·wəl ′kwän·təm]
(quantum mechanics)
A photon or other particle in an intermediate state which appears in matrix elements connecting initial and final states in second-and higher-order perturbation theory; energy is not conserved in the transitions to or from the intermediate state. Also known as virtual particle.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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