Plancks constant

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In physics, Planck's constant, named after the physicist Max Planck, is a fundamental value equal to:

h = 6.6261 × 10-34 Js

appearing in all the equations of quantum mechanics. It can be seen as a conversion factor between frequency and energy, especially for photons. The unicode symbol ℎ represents Planck's constant. Sometimes the abbreviation

h_bar = h / 2π

is used, where π is Archimedes' constant, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. h_bar is a lower-case h with a line through it, the symbol ℏ.

One of the values that can be derived from Planck's constant is the Planck length, 1.6 × 10-35m, which is the smallest meaningful length in quantum mechanics; any two points separated by less than the Planck length are indistinguishable from each other. Similarly, the amount of time it takes a photon to travel one Planck length is Planck time: 10-43 seconds. This is the smallest meaningful division of time.

The planck length and planck time are used as the fundamental units in the system of Planck units.

see also: Electromagnetic radiation, Schrödinger's equation, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Wave-Particle duality