That's right; your PCs, cellphones, TVs, DVDs, iPods, damn nuclear weapons, and almost any electronic you can think of are possible because of quantum mechanics. Some of its contributions after the jump:
- The Transistor: Using quantum mechanics' accurate calculation on extremely small things like atom and electron, scientists were able to invent the transistor; which act as a switch, allowing an electric current to flow, or as an amplifier. Today, a single chip may contains a billion transistors and your PC may have more than ten billion of them. The transistor is the building block of modern electronics. ALL modern electronics depend on it. It's considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, inventions of the twentieth century.
- The Laser: The Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation produces a nondiverging beam of light of a single frequency that can be focused down to a tiny spot. Of course, thanks to quantum mechanics. Laser is now used to scan bar codes at checkout counter, read DVDs, drill through concrete, produce light for fiber optic communication, guide "smart bombs", helps surgeon to cut stuffs, etc.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI produces strikingly clear and detailed images of any desired tissue in the body. It is medicine's most important diagnostic tool. Crucial to most MRI machines is a several-ton superconducting magnet held at a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero. In a superconducting metal, electrons condense into a quantum state in which they all move as an unit. Each electron is simultaneously everyplace in almost a ton of metal.
And some heads up in the future:
The truth: The importance of quantum mechanics should be a common sense.
Contributions of Physics to the Information Age
Scientists Make Breakthrough With First Programmable Quantum Processor
Quantum Computers Better For Modeling Chemical Reactions