Fine-Structure Constant

What Does Fine-Structure Constant Mean?

The fine-structure constant is a part of quantum and
traditional physics, a constant that represents the strength of electromagnetic
forces controlling the behavior of charged particles. It is made up of the
following components:

  • Elementary charge
  • Free space
  • Planck’s constant
  • Speed of light

The fine-structure constant is also known as Sommerfeld’s constant.

Techopedia Explains Fine-Structure Constant

As a physics concept, fine-structure constant is mostly
confined to in-depth engineering principles, and more related to quantum
science than computer science. However, there is some overlap, notably, in the
field of nanotechnology, where the controlling of charged particles is a core
concept, and in advances such as solid-state technology, where controlling
charged particles across a layer or substrate is an essential part of design.

scientific brief on the
issue from 2011
notes that “the existence of the universal dynamic
conductance and the quantized optical transparency of graphene observable at
room temperature attracted a lot of interest from researchers in different
fields, such as optics, solid state physics and electronics.” The piece talks
about fine-structure constant in plasmonic nanoarrays, which is one modern
application of this type of physics.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.